A MUSICIAN has thanked the public for their support after a van with his instruments collected over 40 years was stolen.

Lou Blackwell has urged those who took the van from his Maldon home to return his gear and memories which he had amassed over a lifelong career as a musician.

The Standard reported last week that Mr Blackwell’s van had been stolen from his home in Wood Road overnight on Saturday last week, shortly before he was due to supply instruments and PA equipment to Heybridge Parish Council’s “Party at the Planny” event on the Sunday.

The equipment included recorders, mixing desks, speakers and monitors, and is thought to be worth around £6,000.

Mr Blackwell said: “You don’t like to think these lot are around and about but I don’t want any retribution, I just want the equipment back.

“My musical career has taken me around the world and since retiring as a full time musician I’ve continued to use my skills and equipment to benefit our community as a presenter on local radio and enabling many live events.

“The theft of van and contents affects so many in our community, music is a great tool to bring people together giving strength and health to all ages. We are fortunate to have many likeminded people in our area making the district one of the best areas of habitation in the country.

“I’ve had a lot of support from the community, on the day we had Radar Records very kindly step in to supply all of the equipment for the Party at the Planny event.”

Mr Blackwell’s friend Matt Podd set up a crowdfunding page in the days after the theft to raise enough money to replace the stolen equipment.

It has since raised more than £490.

Mr Blackwell added: “In that van was 40 years’ worth of my collection of instruments, plus the PA equipment, it’s such a shame.

“The police are investigating, they will do what they can but didn’t hold out much hope.

“I have great faith in people and it would be wonderful if someone had the heart to return my gear and memories with no recrimination, thank you to everyone for the good wishes and kind words.”

To donate, visit www.crowdfunder.co.uk/raise-for-lou.