WHAT at first seemed like an ordinary clothes donation has become one of the county’s most generous acts of the year after a £5,000 wad was discovered in a mystery sock.

The donation was handed to St Margaret’s Hospice’s Chard shop in July, but now that a search for the original owner has drawn a blank, the charity is being allowed to keep the money.

The store owners are now thanking the mystery benefactor and said the donation will be used to provide care to patients with life-limiting illnesses in Somerset.

Volunteers Pam Green and Ann Speyer were astonished to find the wad of notes tucked inside a sock when they were sorting through a batch of donated clothes at the Holyrood Street shop.

Tracey Sherwood, shop manager, said: “We have had some unusual donations, such as handcuffs and the casing of a bombshell, but never anything like this.

“When Pam and Ann came across the money, they said I’d never believe what they had found. They told me to close my eyes and hold my hand out. I just hoped it wasn’t going to be a spider.

“Then they started putting £10 and £20 notes in my hand and just kept on going. I went into the office and counted it all.

“We were worried that someone might not have realised the money was there, so we contacted PC Paul Thomas, who helped us to put out the appeal.”

After the story was published by local media, PC Thomas said he received more than 20 calls from people who had donated clothing to the shop following house clearances, but he was able to establish that the money had not been found among their items.

He said: “They were all genuine people but the descriptions didn’t match, so we knew the cash hadn’t come from their donations.

“Because we were unable to trace the rightful owner, the money has now gone to the hospice. It’s a wonderful result.”

The £5,000 will pay for 10 days of care for a patient in one of St. Margaret’s Hospice’s In-patient Units in Taunton and Yeovil.

Tracey added: “I would like to say a huge thank you to whoever left this money. It will make such a big difference to patients at the hospice.”