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Lost ring returned to owner's family decades later after chance encounter on Facebook

Long lost ring returned to owner's family after chance encounter on Facebook <i>(Image: SWNS)</i>
Long lost ring returned to owner's family after chance encounter on Facebook (Image: SWNS)

A Victorian ring was returned to the original owner's family after decades - following a chance encounter on Facebook.

Gemma Albrow, 41, found the silver ring 34 years ago and decided to keep it safe as it had a mysterious name on it.

Ms Albrow, from Seaford, found the ring in 1989 while searching through two tubs of scrap silver and gold at her parents' jewellery shop.

It is inscribed with the names Vincent and Walter Hand, with their birth and death dates.

The dates show that Vincent died just months after Walter aged only two.

The Argus: Gemma Albrow found the ring when she was eight
The Argus: Gemma Albrow found the ring when she was eight

Gemma Albrow found the ring when she was eight (Image: SWNS)

Gemma said: "Eight-year-old me just thought it was too sad to let it be melted down - it meant something to somebody.

"It really struck me that it would have been such a heartbreak for a woman to lose a child so young.

“It’s a Victorian memorial ring.

"On the outside it says, ‘In memory of’ - and there’s a dark spot where my mum thinks there was a sapphire.

"I just felt like I was its guardian. I always knew I’d love for it to go back.

"I always hoped to know who it belonged to."

The Argus: Emilie Hand and an unknown lady
The Argus: Emilie Hand and an unknown lady

Emilie Hand and an unknown lady (Image: SWNS)

Gemma then forgot about the ring for decades.

But, after finding it again, she did some digging on ancestry.com in October and discovered the ring belonged to a Hannah Hand.

While scrolling social media at New Year, she noticed someone with the same surname in a group about her hometown, Leek in Staffordshire, and decided to message.

She contacted the post's author, Darren Gerrard, and discovered he is married to Susan Gerrard - the great-great-granddaughter of Hannah Hand.

All parties made contact and the ring was then returned.

The mum-of-two said: "I'm overjoyed! I never in a million years thought I'd find them.

"It was such a shock when I saw the name on a Facebook post I was just scrolling through.

"I'm so happy I've reunited them.

"I 100 per cent believe that these things really do happen for a reason."

Darren and Susan were posting on a local history page after finding some old family pictures.

The Argus: Harold Hand
The Argus: Harold Hand

Harold Hand (Image: SWNS)

Hannah Hand had the maiden name Charlesworth and was from Longnor, near Leek.

She then married Walter, and Clement, their youngest child, is Susan's great-grandfather.

Vincent was Hannah and Walter's child too and died of tuberculosis shortly after the same illness claimed his father.

Hannah also died of TB a year later.

Mrs Gerrard said: "It was such a wonderful surprise when Gemma contacted us asking if the family Darren posted about was the same as those named on the ring.

"I didn't even know the ring existed.

"She was worried that the ring would have no sentimental value to the person she returned it to but I have reassured her that as long as it is my possession it will never be sold.

"In due time I hope to pass it on to my daughter and later it will go to my granddaughter.

"I have no idea what happened to the ring before Gemma rescued it."