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The flood that uncovered treasure

A cold snap with a prolonged period of minus temperature – followed by a quick rise in temperature – the ideal conditions for burst pipes.

Worse still, the burst pipe conditions came during the Christmas and New Year season – a time when many people were away visiting relatives. Mr W was one of these – he was 96 years old, lived alone in a bungalow and had spent the New Year with relatives. He returned home to find his home devastated by a burst pipe.

Ceilings collapsed, wallpaper peeling, carpets saturated and no heating or electrics. As a survivor of a a Japanese POW camp, Mr W was not a man easily dismayed – he also had a handshake so fierce it rendered me unable to start the paperwork for some time! During the course of our work, Mr W told us about his life and how he had lost his wife six months previously.

As we got to the main bedroom I moved the bed to cut away the sodden carpet and noticed a gold ring shining up at me. When I gave this to Mr W he welled up and was overcome with emotion as he explained that it was his wedding ring – he hadn’t seen it since his wife passed away. He thought he had lost it. We were greatly humbled by the experience, and delighted to have been able to add a little happiness to an otherwise difficult time.