I was rather taken today by the story of Jean Hirst.
This 72-year-old woman was giving three teenage girls a lift after asking them directions to a theatre. One of the girls thought she saw an easy mark, grabbed Hirst’s handbag, and ran off.
Not so fast, however. What she didn’t know was that Hirst wasn’t just a retired teacher, she was a retired sprinter, Nottinghamshire County Schools champion and contestant in the All-England Championships at the age of 17.
She ran down the thief until she gave up and ditched the bag.
“She had a head start but I covered 70 yards in about 15 seconds and was within two strides of her when she looked over her shoulder and saw me.
“She probably thought I was an easy target but she shouldn’t have judged a book by its cover. The look on her face was one of sheer amazement and she just threw my bag aside.”
Mrs Hirst, who has two grown up children, was later rebuked by her daughter who told her the girl could have had a knife or turned aggressive.
She added: “I didn’t think of my safety, but I did pay for it a little the next day. I was covered in aches and pains and my daughter turned to me and said it was because I didn’t warm up properly.”