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Debenham detectorist strikes gold and returns missing ring after 20 years

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A metal detectorist from Debenham has helped reunite a precious wedding ring with its owner after finding it in a field around 20 years after it was lost.

Tyrone Holman, 50, of Henniker Road, was using his metal detector on Church Farm in Occold, where has been detecting for 10 years, when he made the discovery at the of last month.

He said: “At first, I thought it was a copper ring, as it was covered in so much dirt. It was not until the dirt came away that I saw it was gold – it was just so exciting.

Tyrone Holman’s said the ring was one of his favourite finds.Picture: Mark Bullimore
Tyrone Holman’s said the ring was one of his favourite finds.Picture: Mark Bullimore

“I found it about four inches from the surface and the field had been ploughed so many times. For it to still be in such good condition was nothing short of amazing.

“I put it in my pouch and, when I got home, I had a chance to clean it up properly. As I washed it under some water, that is when I saw the inscription, ‘With Love Christiane 9.9.67’.”

After finding the markings, the HGV driver contacted the Hull family, who own the farm, to tell them about his discovery.

Chris Hull said: “Tyrone usually comes to the farmhouse to show us anything interesting he gets, but, with the social distancing, he decided to take it home first. Then he sent us an email with some photos of the ring.”

The family recognised the unique name as that of a former villager, who they had helped make a nature pond for when they used to live in Occold.

Mr Hull said: “We knew it belonged to John and Christiane Hewitson, who we helped with a project in 2000.

“After the work, we then spread the dredgings directly on to our fields, so it must have come with all of that.”

The family contacted Mr and Mrs Hewitson, who had lived in the village for 20 years, to tell them the good news.

Mrs Hewiston, 73, said: “When we received the email, we were absolutely shocked – it was just amazing.

“John thought he had lost it on a train journey to London and we had searched for it everywhere. Eventually, we came to terms with the fact that we would never see it again.”

Mr Hewiston, 75, had never got a replacement for the lost wedding band as it was felt that it would never be the same as the original.

Mrs Hewiston said: “We never thought it would turn up on a farmer’s land. If it had not been for the metal detectorist, it might never have been unearthed.

“It feels very strange now to see John with a wedding ring on and, though we had it widened back then, which may have caused it to fall off in the first place, it now fits him perfectly.”

Over the years, Mr Holman has found many hammered 12th and 13th century coins and even a half sovereign coin, but said this was one of his favourite finds.

He said: “It felt really good to send the ring back to them. It would have been nice to deliver it in person, but, with the restrictions at the minute, that was just not possible,

“I hope after all this I do get the chance to finally meet them, as this is probably the nicest find I have had since I started doing metal detecting as a hobby.”

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