Local hero to the rescue after lost wedding ring

It was trip to Lewis to catch up with some old university friends and do some sight-seeing around the island. Yet for Daryll Leslie it very nearly turned into a nightmare.

By Murray MacLeod
Thursday, 7th October 2021, 9:44 am
LOCAL HERO: Stephen MacLeod finds the ring on Garry beach after searching for an hour with his metal detector
LOCAL HERO: Stephen MacLeod finds the ring on Garry beach after searching for an hour with his metal detector

Back in August the Edinburgh-based staircase designer and some old university pals travelled to stay with another of their peer group, Duncan Chalmers, who has set up an architecture practice on the island.

After a usual boys night out, on Saturday morning they decided to go for a swim at Garry beach, Tolsta. Only afterwards Daryll discovered he had lost his precious wedding ring.

And it was no ordinary wedding ring at that. It had been handmade by his wife of two years, Carey, and was totally unique and irreplaceable.

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Daryll and his friends went out in the lashing rain to search but, unsurprisingly, it was to no avail. He had to leave the following day.

He put out a desperate appeal on social media and was “amazed by the response he got from wonderful and kind locals willing to go out and look for him”. A local detectorist, Stephen MacLeod, was recommended.

Carey takes up the story: “The first person went out and unfortunately found nothing. At this point, I was trying to convince Daryll that he shouldn’t get his hopes up because it was so unlikely to turn up.

"But then at the end of the week the second person went out and on Friday afternoon, as Daryll was finishing work, he received a photo of this local hero standing on the beach with his wedding ring!”

That “local hero” was the detectorist Stephen MacLeod.

"Needless to say Daryll was over the moon and the man that found it was also ecstatic,” said Carey.

“Daryll and him have now become fast friends over WhatsApp, having never met in person, and have arranged to go for celebratory drinks the next time Daryll visits the island."

Carey, who works with people with disabilities and autism, continued: “The story then had a rather serendipitous conclusion of the ring arriving back to us on the day of our second wedding anniversary, 28th September.

"This was because, not wanting to risk having it sent back by post, it made its way back through friends.

"After leaving it with Duncan, Duncan’s parents collected it on their visit to the island and took it back to Renfrew where they live.

"Then Duncan’s brother Ruairidh drove it the final leg of the journey back to Edinburgh, where he delivered it to our house and by total coincidence this was on our wedding anniversary.”

Stephen, a painter and decorator, in Arnol said he was approached by the owner of Store 67 in Stornoway – an outdoor retailer that Daryll first went to for help – to see if he would be willing to go out with his metal detector.

"I had done some work for Store 67 so thought it’d give it a try,” said Stephen.

“I went out with my friend Angus MacInnes. We are at it for about an hour. To be honest I didn’t know if the tide would have taken it out, but as soon as I got a signal I knew it was gold. And there it was. It was just very, very lucky.”

Stephen and Daryll are now looking forward to catching up over a few beers some time soon in Stornoway. Maybe they’ll skip a swim on Garry beach, though.