A woman has been reunited with her treasured ring which was swept away in floods after it was miraculously found in a field three months later.
Frankie Greenwood, 30, was left devastated when the piece of jewellery she was given by her mum as a 16th birthday present was lost during February’s storms.
She had been in her car when the River Teme burst its banks in Tenbury Wells, Worcs., submerging her vehicle with floodwater.
Pub manager Frankie managed to scramble free and was fortunately unharmed but the precious white gold ring came loose and was carried away.
She took to social media to launch a desperate appeal to track down the sentimental gift, which has an engraved message from mum Peta, but feared it had been lost forever.
Metal dectectorist Robin Preece then got in touch with Frankie on Facebook and offered to lend a hand with his equipment.
And she was left stunned when Robin uncovered the ring stuck in mud at the field where she abandoned her car after three days of searching last Friday (15/5).
Frankie, of Tenbury Wells, has now been reunited with her beloved item of jewellery and said the million-to-one chance discovery “just felt unreal”.
She said: “It was just absolutely overwhelming when I was told me they had found it. I never dreamed of seeing it again.
“I always had the indent in my finger and was just really aware it wasn’t there. I wanted to do all I could to find it.
“But it was just needle in the haystack. A million-to-one chance it could ever be found.
“It was an almost indescribable surge of emotions when it was discovered again. I was either hysterically crying or shaking or laughing.
“I was just absolutely dumbfounded. Just totally gobsmacked. It was insance.
“I don’t think I could have lived with myself knowing that I hadn’t bothered looking.
“If I never found it, I would have always regretted and it would have been, what if.
“Even if this came to nothing, and it was never found, at least we could all say we tried our best.
“The fact we did find it, I just never expected it at all.”
Frankie, who runs the Wellington Inn in Ledbury, Herefordshire, had needed rescuing from her stranded car after she got into trouble on February 17.
She said: “It was late in the evening when I got a distressed phone call from a friend who was stuck but her need was wasn’t deemed high enough to need the emergency services.
“I think more with my heart than my head. I thought I needed to go out and rescue her if nobody else would.
“I planned a higher ground route but I’ve only lived in the area just over a year and I do have the navigational skills of a doughnut.
“What should have been a ten-minute journey turned into half an hour, with the sat nav shouting at me telling me I’m going the wrong way because I’m avoiding all the floods.
“I came across a road that is completely impassable. I had no idea where I was so I just pulled over, put the handbrake on, put it in neutral and had a quick look at Google Maps.
“As I’m doing this, the bank broke on the left of me and I was just hit with all the water. It swirled my car down into where it was really flooded.
“When I finally came to a standstill, I think the immediate thought was ‘oh my god my dad’s gonna kill me’ for ruining the car.
“My initial reaction was to get out of the car. I opened the driver’s door and I don’t even know why but I attempted to push the car.
“At that point, I could feel how fast the current was. I wasn’t able to push it let alone walk out of this.
“I decided to get back in the car. I’ve lost my shoes and I realised I was no longer on the road. The car had just sunk in brash, brambles and barbed wire.
“I was covered in bruises, soaked, no shoes so I grabbed my phone which was completely submerged in the water.
“I only had about six per cent battery but I called 999. It took three hours for help to arrive.
“Because my phone had been in the water, we could barely hear each other when they’re trying to work out where on earth I am.
“Obviously, you can get severe hypothermia within 10 or 15 minutes let alone three hours.
“The boat rescue team got me out of the car and while I was being rescued, I realised I wasn’t wearing my ring anymore.
“It did take me a day to actually admit to my mum that I’d lost it. My mum’s a hand engraver.
“She had my ring made for me with my favourite stone, which is peridot, for my 16th birthday.
“It’s one of a kind. She had engraved the inside for me so it’s a bit of a rite of passage, being a 16-year-old and given your first piece of jewellery. It was so important.
“You can replace a car and belongings but you can’t replace something so special made 14 years ago.”
Frankie put out an appeal on Facebook asking for help and was inundated with messages of support.
A family friend called Lynne Preece came forward and offered the services of her husband, Robin, a metal detectorist of 40 years.
She added: “Everybody offered. It was surreal. I didn’t expect anybody to just go ahead and do it off their own back so selflessly.
“Lynne and Robin in a heartbeat got up going straight to the farm, spoke to the landowner and got his permission and immediately started looking.
“Robin even found one of my shoes and I had a message from Lynne, with a picture of my, saying ‘is this one of yours?’
“Even my original tyre prints are still there. He searched all that evening, spent hours that day, went back the next day, still searching.
“It was on the third day that he then got in contact saying he had found it, it was unreal.
“They had to get out all the old debris in the aftermath of the floods, so my ring could have easily been in all the muck that they’d disposed of.
“I just still can’t believe my luck.”
Robin Preece, 53, said he was delighted to find the ring for Frankie because it meant so much to her.
He said: “My wife Lynne volunteered my services and we both came straight down to where she roughly lost it.
“She lost it in the space of a few hours, so it could have been anywhere, it could have been carried off by the water or it could have been in a hedgerow.
“The farmer had ripped the hedge out in the last three months and put a fence up.
“Obviously, it could have been moved or it could have been dug up when they moved the fence.
“On the first evening I took a more basic metal detector to have a quick look. I spent a couple of hours there and it was getting dark so we left it.
“I came back the next day and gridded it with a better metal detector, in the same sort of area.
“The same day I carried on looking in the field and I found a two-way radio which belongs to the Fire and Rescue Service.
“Unfortunately, a woman lost her life a few days before in the floods. One of the boat crew had actually dropped it in the water.
“On the third day, around a metre into the field, near to the car, I came across the ring.
“It said Frankie inside, the date and a message ‘with love’ that her mum had engraved.
“So I sent her a picture and I sent my wife a picture.
“Frankie hadn’t got it so her mum rang her and said ‘look at your messages’ and she was just ecstatic when she saw us.
“I was delighted she got it back because it clearly means so much to her.”