The Baton: Charity's founder burgled during launch

PUBLISHED: 09:32 04 November 2009 | UPDATED: 00:29 16 June 2010

Poignant moment: The Baton being launched by Alan Rowe MBE at RAF Lyneham.

Poignant moment: The Baton being launched by Alan Rowe MBE at RAF Lyneham.

Copyright Archant Ltd

AFTER an exhilarating, but exhausting, weekend launching a new, national charity, Honiton barber Alan Rowe MBE returned to Honiton to find his shop had been broken into.

AFTER an exhilarating, but exhausting, weekend launching a new, national charity, Honiton barber Alan Rowe MBE returned to Honiton to find his shop had been broken into.

Launching The Baton in front of television cameras to encourage public support for members of the armed forces, Mr Rowe was sending a message to the hearts of the British people; a message he hopes the public will keep alive by carrying The Baton - made from the handle of a stretcher sent home from Camp Bastion in Afghanistan.

But, within hours of The Baton charity being launched at RAF Lyneham, Mr Rowe and his wife Pauline were picking up the pieces of the break-in, spending much of Monday cleaning up and speaking to police.

Among the items stolen was a Royal British Legion collecting tin, estimated to have contained around £70.

"It was something we could have done without after the weekend's effort," said Mr Rowe.

"I would like to thank all the people who, in no time, offered help and commiserations.

"We were truly humbled by the genuine concern that flooded in by word, text, email and phone calls, proving what a special town Honiton is."

After hearing about the break-in, Phil Capon, of Otter Windows, who supported the launch of The Baton together with Harts of Honiton, offered to replace a substantial amount of smashed glass free of charge.

After launching The Baton to cheers in front of a 30 Squadron Hercules on Saturday, Mr Rowe and a team of runners, including serving members of the armed forces, ran 110 miles in 16-and-a-half hours to the National Memorial Arboretum. A guard of honour awaited them.

"The whole team was incredible, considering that few knew each other when we started," he said.

The journey ended with a reception at Honiton Town Football Club.

Mr Rowe paid tribute to all those who helped to launch The Baton in any way.

Find out more about The Baton by visiting www.thebaton.co.uk

More on the launch of The Baton next week.


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