Hundreds joined hunt for Kenilworth groom’s lost wedding ring
FRIENDS, family and caring townspeople have proven to be worth more than their weight in gold for a newlywed Kenilworth couple.
John and Jo Hartley, of Leyes Lane, were married at Coombe Abbey on Saturday and were preparing to go off on the first of two honeymoons.
But the happiness of the weekend turned to anxiety for Mr Hartley when he lost his 24-carat gold wedding ring while he was with his son Samuel and nieces Ella and Jade at the play area in Abbey Fields on Sunday.
Up to 100 people - from wedding guests to passers-by - helped with the search and a metal detector, rakes and brooms were used to sift through grass and wood chippings.
Mrs Hartley said: “John was down there on his hands and knees for hours and when he came back to the house I told him to leave it.
“But he said he was going to have another try and he went back with more people.
“He was absolutely broken-hearted, not because of the value of the ring but because it meant so much to him.”
Mr Hartley said the ring must have slipped off his finger when he was pushing one of the children on a swing.
The search lasted for more than four hours with both adults and children helping out and refusing to accept it was a lost cause.
And, just as everyone was starting to give up hope, Mr Hartley’s older brother Paul found the ring in grass just four-metres away from the swings.
Mr Hartley said: “I went through all of the emotions but Jo was very understanding.
“The memory of the wedding was still very vivid to me - if I had lost the ring five years later it might not have mattered as much.
“I want to thank all of the people who had their hands in the dirt for ages and all of the children who had this real treasure hunting spirit – it was brilliant.
“You can imagine the elation I felt when the ring was found, I bought a big Chinese takeaway to thank people.”
Mrs Hartley added: “We’re very lucky to have friends and family who mucked in - everyone was amazing.
“To have that happen and for everyone to pull together was lovely.”
The couple have been together for 11 years and have four children.
They went on their first honeymoon in the New Forest this week and will travel to Thailand and Singapore for their second in November.
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Thursday 23 May 2013
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