A musician who performs with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra (RSNO) said realising her instrument had been stolen was like “losing a limb”.
Katherine Bryan, 41, who is the RSNO’s principal flautist, had her £15,000 flute stolen on Monday morning from a beige backpack on a Brighton-bound train, between Farringdon and East Croydon stations.
She noticed the instrument had gone after she changed train.
The flute is a Brannen silver Millennium 5320 with a silver Lafin head joint and a gold lip plate.
It is thought to be worth around £15,000 and prices can start from around £6,500 second hand.
British Transport Police (BTP) have launched an investigation.
Ms Bryan told the PA news agency: “Flutes are so unique and individual to the player.
“To lose it and be parted from it is just like losing a limb.”
She had been travelling to Brighton to look at purchasing another flute on behalf of the orchestra on Monday.
After telling the flute shop about what had happened, they kindly lent her one for upcoming shows with the orchestra this weekend.
Ms Bryan lives near Glasgow and regularly performs with the RSNO.
She said she was in “a state of shock” upon realising her beloved flute, which she had owned for 12 years, had been taken.
The flautist described how instruments are made bespoke for the player.
She told the PA news agency: “My voice is that instrument.
“They are all hand-made so you can’t just go and buy another one to replace it.”
On Monday, Ms Bryan took to X, formerly known as Twitter, to appeal for help to find her missing flute.
She said she has been “overwhelmed” with the response of people willing to help track it down.
She said: “I just can’t believe it. I just put something online and it’s gone crazy.
“You never know who is going to come across it, it gets the word out there.
“I think for my fellow musicians as well, we all realise how important the instrument is and how devastating it is when it goes missing.
“So I think the support from from my colleagues across the world really has been amazing, really amazing.”
Ms Bryan was appointed to the role of principal flautist when she was 21 and has played for the RSNO for around 20 years.
A BTP spokesperson said: “BTP received a report of a suspected bag theft yesterday morning (October 23) on a train between Farringdon and East Croydon.
“The bag contained a high-value flute. Inquiries are ongoing and anyone with information can contact BTP by texting 61016, quoting reference 198 of October 23.”
Thameslink, the train company Ms Bryan was travelling with when her flute was stolen, is looking into the matter.
It tweeted: “We’re sorry to hear of this upsetting news. We’re currently looking into this for you and will be back in touch if we hear anything regarding your flute.”