The day of a marriage proposal turned out to be bitter-sweet for a Bradford mum.

As Vanessa Fitzgerald and her boyfriend were sharing their good news with family, her purse containing cash and irreplaceable sentimental items was stolen.

Now Mrs Fitzgerald is pleading for the return of mementoes about the death of her mother and her daughter’s membership card for a T&A children’s column. “I am devastated,” said Mrs Fitzgerald, 37. “It has really taken the edge off the proposal. I can’t stop thinking about what has been lost.”

The day began well as boyfriend Ben Fox arrived at Mrs Fitzgerald’s home, in Walden Drive, Bradford, from Doncaster, where he had collected £300 in disability benefits, passing it on to her for safekeeping.

He proposed and Mrs Fitzgerald said yes, after which they went to her sister’s home nearby to share their joy.

A man turned up trying to sell goods.

“We said no,” said Mrs Fitzgerald.

“But he asked for a drink of water. My sister took him through the lounge to the kitchen. He must have seen the purse in my handbag and next we knew it was gone.”

Mrs Fitzgerald said he was in his late 30s, tall, skinny and scruffy and was trying to sell meat, tracksuits and trainers. “We felt sorry for him but he tricked us,” said Mrs Fitzgerald.

Police are investigating the incident on Tuesday, April 22, and warned about the dangers of allowing strangers into your home.