PEEVED: Geoff Loe is upset his hand-made walking stick was stolen. Geoff is pictured with his grandsons Tristan (right) and Bailey Eva.
PEEVED: Geoff Loe is upset his hand-made walking stick was stolen. Geoff is pictured with his grandsons Tristan (right) and Bailey Eva. Warren Lynam

Low-life steals walking stick from 84-year-old amputee

WHAT sort of person would steal a walking stick from an 84-year-old amputee?

It was a question Geoff Loe struggled to answer after the anger of the theft of his "best mate" had subsided.

Mr Loe and his wife go to the Maroochydore RSL for dinner almost every Friday night with their daughter, son-in-law and three grandchildren.

They arrive at 5pm, select a table for seven and have dinner at about 6pm.

But on January 8, Mr and Mrs Loe were dining alone and had selected a table for two.

Mr Loe left the walking stick on top of the table while he went to the bathroom and when he returned, no longer than 10 minutes later, it was gone.

"I thought someone was playing a joke on me," he said.

"I don't understand what anyone would want with a walking stick.

"Obviously somebody's taken a liking to it."

When he approached RSL staff, they took the matter seriously and began a search of every service desk to see if the stick had been handed in and checked areas like the toilets.

They also went through CCTV footage, but the walking stick could not be found.

Mr Loe is devastated at the loss of the unique work of art, which his son created from a willow branch in 1992.

It was a source of pride for Mr Loe and featured two-toned wood, was twice as thick as a regular walking stick and had patterns burnt and etched along its length.

An even more distinctive feature is an area white strapping around its middle.

The walking stick splintered when Mr Loe ran over it with his truck in the mid 1990's and he patched it up with the strapping and fresh lacquer to make it as good as new.

"That (walking stick) handle has been in my right hand for more than two decades," Mr Loe said.

"Although I can get around the house, I need it whenever I have to walk any distance.

"Anybody who's ever known me would know that walking stick."

Now living in Maroochydore, Mr Loe was working on the roof of his Gippsland, Victoria, business in 1990 when a gust of wind caused him to lose his footing and plummet more than 12 metres to the ground.

His right leg landed on a concrete block and was shattered.

Despite 18 months trying to save his leg, doctors removed plaster in June, 1992, and discovered gangrene.

The loss of part of his leg has never slowed the octogenarian down.

He only recently retired from golf and still swims 40 laps every day in his pool.

Now relying on a "standard" walking stick he bought while overseas a year ago, Mr Loe is hopeful someone will return his walking stick.



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