A relieved husband who lost his wedding band during a Valentine’s Day trip to the rubbish tip was amazed when staff were able to reunite him with the ring.
James Ross, 38, said his heart sank when he saw the ring tumble into a household waste container.
Dreading the thought of explaining the mishap to wife Lara, the dad-of-two’s heart sank as he realised he was unlikely to see the ring again.
He was dropping off cardboard at the Household Waste Recycling Centre, in North Shields, on Valentine’s Day morning when it happened, Chronicle Live reports.
The 38-year-old said: “My hands were cold and, as I was shaking out the box, suddenly the ring was just gone.
“It wasn’t what it cost – it was laser engraved with my wife’s handwriting and the date we got married in 2009. It was irreplaceable.
“I don’t know if it caught the edge of the box, but my heart just sank. I was beside myself. I had no expectations and thought the chances of getting it back were slim.”
James reported the loss to a site operative and then looked on nervously as the four staff members conducted a fingertip search through a 10ft mound of household rubbish.
The team who work for SUEZ Recycling and Recovery UK on behalf of North Tyneside Council, searched for the ring for over 20 minutes.
They were close to giving up when plant operator, Jordan Cooper, 22, suddenly spotted the ring in a puddle of mud under a 10ft pile of waste.
And to James’s delight, his Valentine’s Day nightmare was over.
He and his wife Lara, 40, have now praised the staff for their heroics.
He added: “The ring was caked in rubbish and grime, but it was amazing to have it back. The staff were lifesavers. They’ve gone way beyond the call of duty, being as nice and polite as they can be.
“My wife was over the moon, she thought I was making up an elaborate story. We can’t thank them enough.”
Laura added: “This actually isn’t the first time James has lost his wedding ring, he lost it in the sand on the beach before had people searching and but he miraculously found it.
“The shape of the ring is round so when you get cold or lose weight it easily slips off. His ring really has nine lives.
“We can’t thank the staff enough. It is great the give them the recognition that they deserve as they really went above and beyond their roles to help James.”
And the heroes who searched for the ring alongside Jordan were site supervisor, Phil Cooper and Adam McGregor and Brian Hellens.
Jordan said: “When we realised what had happened, we were all happy to help in the search, especially as it was Valentine’s Day.
“It was like looking for a needle in a haystack as there was a huge mound of waste to search through and we had the added difficulty of ensuring we kept our distance and followed the COVID guidelines.
“We were just about to give up when I spotted it, I was over the moon.”
Norma Redfearn CBE, North Tyneside’s Elected Mayor, said: “I am so pleased that the staff were able to reunite James with his wedding ring – and on Valentine’s Day too.
“Our staff and partners always go the extra mile but the significance of the day and the obvious distress this must have caused has spurred them on to keep going until the wedding ring was found.
“They’re a caring bunch and obviously with a romantic streak as well. I’m very proud of them.”