Peter Groves was moving into his new house in London Road, St Leonards, last Sunday (December 9) when he left an olive tree in its pot out on a trolley in his front garden as he was too tired to move everything in one go.
However, when he woke up the next morning (Monday, December 10), the tree, planted in a pot of soil containing his son’s ashes, had gone.
His daughter Poppy Groves believes there was no malicious intent in it being taken but wants the person to return it.
She added: “We think someone thought it had been left for the taking as when he woke up the next morning it had gone, but the trolley had been returned. You can’t move the tree without it.
“We think this was genuinely someone who thought the tree was going spare and nobody is angry but the problem is that this tree contains my little brother’s ashes.
“He passed away a few years ago and my dad is non religious but a big tree hugger, this was the way he chose to remember him.”
Poppy said the olive tree was symbolic to her dad as it reminded him of his son – Poppy’s brother – who passed away five and a half years ago.
She said: “No one can be expected to understand the significance of this tree.
“My dad used to tell my brother to imagine a tickle tree when he was much younger and when he got him out of the bath he used to wrap him up in a towel and tickle him.
“When my brother passed away, this was his way of remembering him.”
Poppy said her dad’s next door neighbours have CCTV footage which shows a man wearing ‘snazzy trainers’ taking it away at around 3am last Monday (December 10).
She added: “Again I want to stress that we don’t think there was any malicious intent, but my dad has had a rough time of it recently and it’s Christmas and he would do anything to get that tree back.
“I’m happy to offer some cash for it’s safe return.
“Basically I love my dad to bits and I’d do anything for him, so if there’s any chance anyone knows anything about this, please get in touch.”
Did you take the tree or do you know where it might be? Please contact [email protected]