Delivery company Hermes has coughed up a four-figure fee to charity following the loss of a signed painting of Kevin Sinfield.
The rugby league star was painted by Saddleworth artist Linda Edwards as a limited edition print signed by Sinfield ahead of an auction for Rob Burrow and the Motor Neurone Disease Association.
Hermes has now paid £1,000 to charity following regional uproar.
The portrait was completed in February last year after Sinfield had raised over £3 million by running seven marathons in seven days for his friend Burrow and the MNDA.
Edwards told the Oldham Times: “I decided to paint the portrait to fundraise for the same cause, with four limited-edition prints signed by Kevin to be auctioned at MND Association charity events.
“I was thrilled three of the paintings have each raised more than £1,000. The fourth was requested for an auction on December 5 in Leeds.
“On November 26 the organiser arranged for a courier from Hermes to collect the print that afternoon. However, it did not arrive at its destination.
“The package was clearly marked on both sides with the recipient’s address, a barcode and handle-with-care labels.”
She added: “After numerous attempts at chasing Hermes – and more than six weeks after the painting was collected from me – we were still no further on as to what has happened to the print.
“The service is very frustrating as Hermes operates a ‘virtual assistant’, which repeats the same message.
“In desperation, I contacted its chief executive Martijn De Lange.
“His department said it would investigate but the charity auction has been and gone. I suggested Hermes should send a donation to the charity.
“Couriers must be responsible for items we entrust with them, or what is the point of using their services?”
Edwards was, however, happy with the end result.
“Hermes paid up £1,000 so I’m happy with the result and have handed over the money to the MNDA.
“It was bad enough them losing the print, but I was annoyed that because of Hermes carelessness the charity was going to lose out financially. “Ultimately Hermes did the right thing.”
A Hermes spokesman said: “We have been in touch with the customer to apologise.
“We have paid her £1,000 to donate to this great charity and will continue to search for her painting.”