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Mother united with train benefactor


Sammie Welch and her three-year-old son Rylan (handout/PA Wire)

Sammie Welch and her three-year-old son Rylan (handout/PA Wire)

Sammie Welch and her three-year-old son Rylan (handout/PA Wire)

A generous stranger who left a young mother a handwritten note describing her as a "credit to her generation" has been reunited with her.

Sammie Welch, 23, was travelling with her three-year-old son on a busy First Great Western train from Birmingham to Plymouth on January 22.

She was handed £5 and the note by a mystery passenger, signed "Man on train at table with glasses and hat", as he got off at Bristol.

Ms Welch launched a social media campaign to track down the chivalrous stranger, who praised her for being polite and teaching son Rylan good manners.

He has since been revealed as Ken Saunders, 50, from Wiltshire, and Ms Welch was able to thank him in person when they were reunited today.

"Thank you so much," Ms Welch told Mr Saunders on ITV's Good Morning Britain. "I don't think you realise the impact you actually had and what you actually did for us.

"I think I looked shocked at first because I couldn't believe it and then I was looking for you and I could only see my own reflection in the glass."

The handwritten note, in capital letters, read: "Have a drink on me. You are a credit to your generation, polite and teaching the little boy good manners.

"PS I have a daughter your age, someone did the same for her once. Hope when she has children she is as good a mother as you.

"Have a lovely evening."

Speaking on Good Morning Britain, Mr Saunders said it was a spur of the moment decision to give Ms Welch the note and money.

"Well, it had been a very long week and a long day and I was on the train, as you know, and it was just endearing," Mr Saunders told presenters Susanna Reid and Ben Shephard.

"She came on, the little boy was a bubbly little boy. And he coughed and she said 'Oh Rylan, put your hand in front of your mouth' and then he practised it quite a bit after that.

"He coughed quite a bit and put his hand in front of his mouth and then he said 'What' and she said 'No, pardon, Rylan'. It was quite funny, it was entertaining. It was all just very endearing.

"And I just thought it was wonderful. Youngsters today are much maligned and I thought here is a great role model, great mother and I just thought this is lovely.

"And as I got towards Bristol and I took my ticket out, there was a £5 note and a scrap of paper and it was just a spur of the moment thing. I thought I'm going to tell her what a great mother she is and put a smile on her face."

Mr Saunders revealed he was partly inspired by a stranger who helped his own daughter a few years earlier and Ms Welch vowed to continue the legacy of kindness.

Ms Welch, who is originally from Crewe but now lives in Plymouth, Devon, previously said she "wanted to cry" at the anonymous benefactor's generosity.

She appealed on Facebook for people to get in touch with the man so she could have the opportunity to thank him personally.

"He shows there are still good people out there and I want him to know I am truly grateful," she said.

PA Media