A devastated husband who lost his wedding ring on a beach has been reunited with it after he was tracked down via Facebook.
James Matthews feared he would never see the band again when it slipped from his finger during holiday at Woolacombe in North Devon.
But staff at the resort’s tourist centre turned detective after a little boy dug it up as he was building a sandcastle and handed it in.
They posted photos of the wedding band, inscribed ‘Fern and James 18/08/10’, on social media and the message went viral.
It generated more than 3,300 retweets on Twitter and almost 2,000 Facebook shares.
After a few false leads staff were sent a link to an August 2010 wedding video – for a Fern and James.
Tourist centre manager Rachel Zeale watched it and got in touch with the company who filmed it who searched their records and found the names of the happy couple.
She said: “We get so much stuff handed in it’s unbelievable, and we get a lot of people who lose things they care about.
“Because this wedding ring had an inscription it was just so precious.
“We thought we would have half a chance of finding the owner if we posted photos on Facebook.
“It was lovely when we found out we had got the right Fern and James.”
James’ wife Fern said the ring – which matches hers – was lost just before their fifth wedding anniversary.
She said: “We searched and searched but couldn’t find it.
“I thought about posting on social media but we live in Surrey and were holidaying down there so didn’t have any leads.
“The staff at the tourist centre have made our day- miracles really do happen.”
James Matthews, 34 and wife Fern, 29, have three children and live in Tadworth, Surrey.
Fern, a beauty therapist, said: “James lost the ring on the first day of our holiday.
“He was playing catch with the children and it was wet that day, so I think it must have slipped off. It had always been a bit loose.
“We were absolutely devastated. We went back down to the beach to search and thought there was no chance of us getting it back.
“We both have matching rings so they are really special.”
Fern was contacted a few weeks later by staff at the Woolacombe Tourist Information Centre, who believed they might have found her husband’s ring.
She said: “When I got the email and saw the subject was ‘wedding ring’ I thought there was no way.
“I just couldn’t believe it. When we Googled it we saw thousands of people had shared the post.
“It was amazing. Everyone was so helpful.”
James, a sales director, has since made plans to get the ring re-sized.