Mum's delight after treasured wedding ring lost in Morecambe sand is found by metal detectorist
Mum-of-two Rachael Edmonds thought her precious wedding ring was lost forever when it fell into the sea during an open water swimming session on Saturday.
But she hadn't counted on the dedication of several local metal detectorists who searched for hours for the ring - until it was eventually found the following day.
Rachael has now thanked everyone for their help, particuarly metal detecting enthusiast Matthew Hepworth, who was able to give her the good news after finding the ring stuck in the Morecambe sand on Sunday afternoon.
The ring - which has 22 diamonds - is of huge sentimental value, having recently been specially made from a combination of Rachael's wedding and eternity rings to mark her and her husband Jim's wedding anniversary.
Rachael had been swimming off Morecambe prom with MALLOWS (Morecambe and Lancaster Lancashire Open Water Swimmers) as part of her training for a charity English Channel swim next summer.
"I have never swum with my rings on before because I was worried I would lose them but on Saturday I was running late and because you have got to catch the tide, I got into the water and had waded out 50 yards before I realised I had them on," she said.
"I took them off and put them in my mouth so I could open my dry bag to put them in, but I couldn't open it and in a split second I went to open it with my mouth without thinking. The rings fell out but I managed to catch my engagement ring, but my wedding ring just sank.
"I was quickly trying to work out exactly where I was - the water was nearly up to my neck and I couldn't dive down because of my wetsuit and tow float.
"I called a lady near me to come and help and I then paced out to the rocks so I knew how far it was.
"When I got out of the water I just burst into tears."
Rachael later asked on Facebook if anyone with a metal detector could help her find her ring.
However, despite hours of searching on Saturday afternoon, partly after dark using head torches, the search was called off.
The following morning Rachael was back on the beach again with friends for another search.
In the meantime, another local detectorist, Matthew Hepworth, had been asked to help.
And amazingly, within five minutes of his search beginning, he located Rachael's ring.
"It was just amazing," said Rachael, who lives in Hest Bank with Jim and their sons Lucas and Josh. "The tide had been out and in again and we were against the tide once again."
Matthew, a member of Lune Valley Metal Detecting Club for 30 years, said: "I was just so glad to return the ring to her because it was of such great sentimental value.
"It was a bit of luck but also a lot of years' experience on my part.
"The pressure was on because there was an hour before high tide, but I went exactly where she said she had lost it. I knew it was in the mud and that it wouldn't move far and I was proven right.
"I could just seen the edge of the ring sticking out of the mud. It was quite an emotional moment when I told her I had found it."
Matt - who has previously helped at a Bronze Age burial site and other high profile local archaeological digs - said he was also pleased he could help promote responsible metal detecting.