A simple visit between two friends last fall in Scotland led to the recovery of a gold wedding band that had been lost way back in the 1960s.
Builder Donald McPhee, 57, who also owns Nunton House Hostel on the island of Benbecula, also happens to be a metal detector enthusiast. In November 2021, he was visiting his elderly neighbor Peggy MacSween, 87, whom he considers a second mother; they had been sharing memories and looking at old photographs when, offhandedly, he mentioned his "fantastic" hobby.
She joked that he should try to find her lost wedding ring, which had fallen off her finger into a potato patch over 50 years ago. He accepted the challenge.
The pair live in a close-knit community on the west coast of the Scottish island. McPhee knew MacSween through her son, who died.
“Her son, at the time when he died, he was probably one of my best friends," McPhee told The Epoch Times. "And I thought if I could do this for her, it'd be quite a good thing to do.”
Although she'd sprung the task on him unexpectedly, he thought he and his metal detector would give it a go, though he was far from certain he'd find the ring.
“When she told me she lost it on a piece of land, that's roughly about 6,000 square yards, three acres, it wasn't quite as easy as I kind of anticipated," he said. "I didn't exactly expect to find it."
Using his device, over the course of three days, McPhee found a "couple of old coins, pull tabs, bits of tractors, all sorts of stuff," he said, but became "a wee bit frustrated" when no wedding band turned up. On the third day, however, instead of scouting up and down row by row, he decided to just make a 90-degree turn.
Metal detectorists, he shared, typically end up having to dig, as lost objects tend to get buried. So when his device sounded, that's just what he did—he started digging. All told, he ended up digging over 90 holes before the ring was found.
“My family traditionally have been undertakers on the island, so I often dig graves," he told the newspaper. "So digging holes, small holes like that is quite easy for me."
And, a few inches below the ground, there it was: MacSween’s ring.
Upon handing the ring to her, she couldn't believe it, at first. She recalled the day she'd lost it so many decades ago; she'd been shaking sand out of her glove when it came loose and fell into the potato patch. She went searching for it, but to no avail.
McPhee added: “Her husband died a number of years ago, and he'd actually bought a replacement ring as well, which she still has. But that was a 9-carat one. So the original ring was 18-carat.”
After recovering her ring, MacSween encouraged him to share the adventure with local newspapers. Soon, the story was picked up by major outlets across the globe.
Since the successful wedding ring recovery, other couples have contacted McPhee asking him to help find their missing rings.
“Another four people have been in contact with me to find their rings," he said. "I've already found the second ring ... So I've got another couple to find."