An Olympic athlete had her medals stolen when she parked her car in Hemel Hempstead.
Debbie Georgiou, who has lived in Hemel for 12 years, had only parked her car for a matter of minutes on London Road on Thursday, May 26.
But she returned to find that her daughter’s laptop computer, which was hidden under a mat, had been stolen.
And worse, she later discovered that her handbag containing her Olympic participation medal plus two Commonwealth gold medals had been taken too.
Debbie said: “The laptop was really annoying to lose the handbag and the laptop, but those are just material things.
“The medals mean so much though, and they are irreplaceable.
“I don’t walk around with my medals all the time, but I had them on me that day to take them to show someone. It was awful timing.”
Mother-of-two Debbie dedicated her life to gymnastics from the age of 11, when she first went from her local club in St Helens, Lancashire, to a regional squad training session.
From then her life was transformed, moving through the national ranks. As a teenager she and her sister were driven every Saturday from Liverpool to Bedford for training.
She left home aged just 13 to move to Moscow and be coached by the head of the British squad for gruelling nine-hour daily training sessions. Finally, in 1992, Debbie achieved her dream and was the youngest rhythmic gymnast in the Barcelona Olympics.
Now Debbie is desperately keen for whoever has the medals to return them, adding: “They mean so much to me but almost nothing to whoever has them.
“If they are just thrown in a drawer or thrown away then please come forward – I don’t care who you are, I just want the medals.”
Fortunately there has been a happy by-product to the medal theft. As well as running various business ventures Debbie has carved a career in television presenting, and will be a co-presenter for CBS in America for their Olympic coverage.
And she continues to work on a range of other projects, including designing jewellery, fitness training, and promoting in the health and wellness industry, saying: “I just want to inspire people.”