A veteran tortoise is slowly recovering back at home after a year on the run – at the age of 109.
Owner Wendy Stokes, 74, had given up hope of ever seeing Toby her pet again when he escaped from her garden.
He wandered through an open gate and headed for the open road – where he was rescued from the slow lane by a driver.
They took him to a rescue centre and six months ago they rehomed him with a couple in Margate, Kent – 22 miles away from Wendy’s home in West Hougham.
They could just about make out the name ‘Stokes’ in white paint on his shell – and decided to try to find his real owner.
The couple patiently rang every Stokes in Kent before calling a delighted Wendy who immediately arranged to collect Toby.
The retired farm worker was reunited with the tortoise last Sunday – 11 months after he set off for his adventure.
Wendy said: “I had painted my name and number on the side of his shell but it had faded when he went missing so they couldn’t read it.
“The people who found him could read Stokes but they couldn’t make out the number.
“He had got out because I had left my gate open. It is normally closed because we have sheep in the paddock but they were in a different field.
“Toby just walked out and trotted towards the road where somebody picked him up and took him to a rescue centre.
“Everyone knows I have a tortoise and we always take him to the village fete so he is a bit of a local celebrity.”
“I was devastated when he went missing and spent weeks looking for him in all the fields around the farm.”
She added: “I went all goosey when they told me they had Toby because I had really given up on him.
“It is brilliant having him back and I think everybody was keeping their eye out for him all this time.”
Wendy has owned Toby since the 1980s when he was given her by her late aunt.