“I lost hope – then a metal detector sent me a message”: eight readers on lost and found | Life and style


‘I found my books in a flea market, 20 years later’

Many years ago, when I was twenty in Dublin, I had to quickly move out of an apartment I had lived in and inadvertently left a shelf full of books. When I returned a week later the owner had thrown them away. Twenty years later, I returned to Dublin with my daughter and found three of the books in a thrift store, with the date and my signature on them.
Karl Sweeney, financial analyst, Prague

“I posted a drawing of my missing ring on Twitter”

I lost my wedding ring in the sea while surfing in Saunton, North Devon in May 2021. I watched it sink to the bottom of the sea and my friends helped me look for it, but the waves were too strong and we had to stop looking. I posted a drawing of the ring on Twitter in case someone miraculously found it – but despite some searching by nice strangers, I lost hope. Months went by, and then I got a message on July 24 – which is actually my wedding anniversary – from a metal detector called Mark. He saw my post on Twitter and told me he found my ring! A few weeks later, I found him.
Jenny Urquhart, artist, Bristol

“My guitar was stolen, but we ended up after 17 years”

In 1999, I was living in Archway, North London, and we broke into it. Among the things that got nicked was my beloved Univox Hi-Flier electric guitar. Seventeen years later, a friend texted me saying he thought he saw it on eBay. I looked online and it was my old guitar. The list even mentioned that the caption “Toby 2” was engraved on the back. I contacted the seller, with a copy of a very old police report on the theft, and he immediately removed it from eBay and told me he wanted to return it to me because it was “the good thing to do ”. He had only recently found it at a pawnshop. Incredibly, my guitar and I were together – but I still wonder what adventures she had in those 17 years.
Toby Macfarlaine, musician, Worthing

“I gave up hope of receiving the work of art I had bought”

A few years ago, I commissioned a work of art from a gallery in New York. It was my first “art purchase” – a limited edition print – but it never arrived in the mail; the gallery insisted they sent it correctly. It wasn’t super expensive and since there was no tracking on the package, I gave up hope of ever seeing it. Four months later, I was in a pub on Portobello Road in London when my wife noticed a carrying bag under the table. In the bag was only one item – a cardboard mail tube, with my name and address on it. Inside was the New York Gallery print – a remarkable coincidence that I still can’t believe to this day.
Alex, entrepreneur, London

One of Leonard Cohen’s lost and found banknotes. Photograph: Image provided by the reader

“My wallet was returned – with Leonard Cohen’s notes safe inside”

In 1970, I was an art student and Leonard Cohen was coming to town for his first concert in London. I got up early on a Saturday and stood in line outside the Royal Albert Hall to buy two tickets in the front row. Later that morning, after walking from Kensington Gardens to a busy Oxford Street, I reached into my pocket and realized, to my horror, that my wallet with the tickets was missing. In a blind panic, I went to the nearest police station – not sure if I was hoping to report the loss or find out that it had been returned. At the station, the office sergeant casually asked what was in the wallet. and I blurted out: “Two Leonard Cohen tickets and nothing else!” To my amazement, he gave me my wallet with the two bills safe inside. I don’t know who handed it over, but this kind and honest act greatly strengthened my faith in humanity.
LS, London

“A couple found my photos in the loft of my old house”

I didn’t realize I had left a box of photos from my 20s and early 30s in the attic of a house I sold in the early 2000s. In the meantime, the house has gone. was sold again, then these owners were preparing to emigrate to New Zealand. They found the box, full of memories of my college days, friends’ weddings, family events, and a few vacations in Nepal and Thailand, emptying itself. There was also an old envelope with my name on it, so they put a shout out on a local Facebook page. I got in touch and spent a day reliving wonderful memories while browsing through all of my old photos.
Jacqui McKnight, School Data Manager, Manchester

Pinged back… the lost panda.
Pinged back… the lost panda. Photograph: Image provided by the reader

“Tears flowed when I realized Ping was gone”

I grew up on the Isle of Skye and at the age of seven, against good advice, I took my beloved plush panda, Ping, with me on a day trip to the mainland by ferry. It wasn’t until I got back from the ferry that I realized I had misplaced it somewhere in the fishing village of Mallaig. I was upset and a lot of tears flowed when I realized he was gone forever. About a year later, I returned to Mallaig with my mom to buy something from the hardware store. While my mom was paying, I spotted a little Ping-like panda sitting high on a shelf behind the cash register. We noticed how sweet the panda was and the seller said, “Oh yeah, he’s been sitting here for months. A little girl left him here and we’ve been looking after him ever since. I could not believe it ! After verifying that it was indeed Ping (he had a telltale hole in his butt), I was able to bring my beloved panda home.
Eilidh, notary, Edinburgh

“A silvery sheen caught my eye. It was my ring ‘

A few years ago, I looked at my left hand and realized that my wedding ring was missing. It was so strange – I never take it off and it fits well. I thought it would happen somewhere in the house, but it never did and I resigned myself to having to buy a new ring at some point. Months later, while visiting my in-laws who live across the country, we borrowed their car for a day trip. Towards the end of the trip, as I strapped my baby in his car seat, a silver glow in the backseat caught my eye. It was my ring! It was so strange – we live miles away and I really couldn’t remember the last time we were in their car. Was he somehow caught up in my stuff the whole time and only appeared in the car on this trip – despite taking two flights to get there? To this day it remains a mystery, but I am so happy to find my ring again.
Amanda Leddy, Research Facilitator, Canada


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