Pamela and John Gillespie fear these irreplaceable documents of their wedding, children’s upbringing and other special occasions may have been lost forever when a mugger threatened a DPD delivery driver in Princess Road, Ashton, and drove off in his vehicle.
But they have issued a heartfelt appeal to anyone who might find some or all of the 29 VHS cassettes dumped or for sale to get in touch.
The couple live in Halifax, West Yorkshire, and are planning to emigrate to Australia in the spring. This had prompted them to get all their heirloom recordings, some dating back to the 1980s, transferred onto a memory stick and spotted that Wigan company Showtime film conversions had a special offer on.
So admin assistant Pamela, 55, had all the videos dispatched from her work to be delivered by DPD to Showtime on the morning of Wednesday January 19.
But when the driver arrived, he discovered that the premises didn’t open on a Wednesday so the tapes were put back in the van.
And two hours later, at around 11am, the driver was threatened at knifepoint and his vehicle was driven away.
A home’s CCTV camera catches the van flying down Princess Road and, moments later, the victim in vain pursuit on foot.
However Pamela was told that it had since been recovered and there was nothing inside it.
She rang the police at Wigan and an officer said they would go away and check if anything had been left behind, but so far no-one has come back.
Pamela, who lives in Shay Lane, Halifax, with 57-year-old storesman John, said: “We are devastated.
“These tapes are of no interest, value or use to anyone else, but our lives are on them. They mean so much to us and there is no way to replace them.
“Our wedding 35 years ago is on one; we’ve got all sorts of footage of our children growing up, birthday parties and other significant events.
“We just want anyone who thinks they might have found them to get in touch. Even to recover one or two would be better than none.
“Maybe they were just dumped at the side of the road somewhere.”
Anyone who finds any of the videos is asked to ring Pamela on 0750 141 1147.
Anyone with information about the robbery is asked to contact police or 101 or the freephone Crimestoppers line anonymously on 0800 555111.