An elderly hospital patient is heartbroken after a chain with his late wife’s wedding ring on it was reportedly stolen from around his neck.

Frail Martin Whapshare, 73, has spent more than a month in Darent Valley trying to recover from an infection.

After his wife Mavis passed away aged 78 in June last year, the former warehouseman had her gold wedding ring fitted on his necklace next to a gold St Christopher pendant.

But when his daughter Dawn Granger, 42, visited him in Linden ward on July 19, the necklace, ring and pendant were nowhere to be seen.

Mrs Granger, of Vigilant Way, Gravesend, told News Shopper: "I noticed it wasn’t round his neck so I pulled his shirt up and said ‘Dad, where’s your necklace?’ but he couldn’t tell me.

"He is devastated because it was my mother’s wedding ring and she passed away a year ago.

"He always says to people that he wears it close to his heart because that is where she is.

"It’s quite a hard time for him and this on top is just heartbreaking.

"I’m more heartbroken than he is really because I’m more aware."

News Shopper:

Dawn Granger says she is also heartbroken at the loss of her mum's ring. 

Nurses have searched the ward and found a chain with a ring and pendant on it, but Mrs Granger is convinced it isn’t her dad’s because the chain is silver and not gold.

She said: "It’s 100 per cent not his. My dad’s chain was yellow gold.

"When you get into hospital leave your valuables at home - you shouldn’t have to do it in this day and age but there you go."

A Darent Valley spokesman said: "A family member has reported that her parent’s necklace with a pendant and wedding ring went missing during their stay in hospital.

“After a search of the ward we found objects that appeared to match closely the initial description of the missing items but the family member has since advised us these are not her parent’s.

“We are continuing to look for the missing items but would remind patients not to bring valuables into hospital, and to arrange for a friend or relative to keep them safe at home during their stay.”

A police statement said: "Kent Police is investigating an alleged theft from the person of another in Dartford.

"It is reported that a gold necklace with a St Christopher pendant and gold ring with a pattern around it attached to the chain went missing in a hospital on Darenth Wood Road between 8am on July 15 and 4pm on July 19."