A Devon man was spreading festive cheer more than most on Christmas Eve when he handed out a wad of £50 notes to strangers in a supermarket.
Slipped into trolleys and baskets with a note that said he had "come into quite a lot of money – more than I need for myself and my family"; the identity of the generous man is unknown.
One lucky shopper at the Tesco store in Sampford Peverell, Devon, told the Daily Mail that the envelopes handed out by the man contained a £50 note and a typed message, reading: "Happy Christmas. I have recently been fortunate enough to have come into quite a lot of money – more than I need for myself and my family. So I thought that I would share some of it with other people – the £50 enclosed is for you.
"I hope this enables you to have a little extra cheer this Christmas. You do not have to do anything other than spend the money – and it is real, there is no trick, no hidden cameras or catch. Just have a happy Christmas."
Luke Davies, the supermarket's manager, told the newspaper that the grey-haired mystery benefactor had made quite an impression. "Several customers have mentioned him," he said. "I don't know why he would do it, but if it's what it appears to be it's a very generous thing to do."
"The envelope was blank and we nearly threw it away, but I am glad we didn't. It was such a fantastic gesture. You don't really expect supermarket shopping in the run-up to Christmas to be such a wonderful experience."
His wife, who is in her seventies, added: "We are hugely grateful to this man for such a lovely gift. It's not just about the money, it just made us feel that there are people out there who are genuinely good and selfless, and realise there is more to life than money.
"We couldn't think of any other way of contacting him other than to do it through the press."