AS The north Italian city of Bolzano came into view, 91-year-old Guiseppina Maria Price’s heart soared.
She had fulfilled one of the final wishes of her late husband, Les, in returning to her beloved hometown.
But the journey had come to mean more than that – it was the culmination of efforts by friends old and new to rebuild her confidence after a theft which had affected her deeply.
Sitting back in her Bramley flat with Sergeant Louise Julian and PCSO Mick Cox Guiseppina said: “These two, they are so special. The trip wouldn’t have happened if it hadn’t been for them. How can I repay them for what they have done for me?”
Having recently lost Les after 70 years of marriage, she was at her most vulnerable.
This is one of the most rewarding cases in all my years as a PCSO.PCSO Mick Cox
PCSO Cox changed the locks at her home to make her feel safer and became a regular visitor along with Sgt Julian.
“I saw how she was when it first happened,” she said. “It was three weeks before I saw her smile.”
During one of their chats, PCSO Cox discovered they had met many years earlier when he delivered milk to her old home in Calverley Lane as a cheeky eight-year-old.
But it was the day when Guiseppina spoke about the way Les had urged her to follow her dream of retuning to Bolzano that the two officers saw an opportunity to do something special.
With the help of neighbour Ann and the staff at Farsley Travel, they made all the arrangements for a trip to Lake Garda that has given Guiseppina a new lease of life.
The undoubted highlight was the day spent in Bolzano and a visit to its cathedral.
Guiseppina said: “It felt like home. I felt like Les was there because that’s where we used to go. I’ve fulfilled what he wanted me to do.”
Overwhelmed with gratitude, she struggles to understand why so many people would do so much.
Sgt Julian and PCSO Cox even used their days off to drive her to the airport – and were anxiously waiting at the gates on the day of her return.
Guiseppina said: “When I told the gentleman from the plane that I had two police officers waiting for me, he asked what I had done!
While it might not be the typical crime fighting work expected of police, the time spent supporting Guiseppina in the wake of the theft has reminded the pair why they signed up for the job.
Sgt Julian said: “She’s an inspirational lady. The wonderful stories of growing up in Italy and during the war. Every day is a different story and we leave amazed.
“You do your day-to-day job, but when you’ve actually made a difference it’s on of the most worthwhile things you can do.”
PCSO Cox added: “This is one of the most rewarding cases in all my years as a PCSO.
“Being able to help someone like Guiseppina, and making her feel safe again has made me proud.”