Man who lost wedding ring on Exmouth beach reunited with it thanks to Lympstone metal detectorist

PUBLISHED: 11:24 06 March 2019 | UPDATED: 15:34 06 March 2019

Metal detectorist Stuart Woolger with the ring he dug up in Exmouth.

Metal detectorist Stuart Woolger with the ring he dug up in Exmouth.

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A man who lost his precious wedding ring on Exmouth beach has been reunited with it - thanks to the experience of a metal detectorist.

The wedding ring unearthed by Stuart Woolger in Exmouth. Picture: Stuart WoolgerThe wedding ring unearthed by Stuart Woolger in Exmouth. Picture: Stuart Woolger

Shane Vallance, who lives near Okehampton, was in Exmouth for his children’s dental appointments when he lost his wedding ring skipping stones in front of the Octagon.

Despite a desperate search for the gold band, Mr Vallance and his wife Ali were unable to find it and had to leave the beach to go to their appointment.

Mrs Vallance said: “When we got to the dentists were mentioned it to the receptionist.

“She said we should get ourselves on the Exmouth Community Facebook page.”

The wedding ring unearthed by Stuart Woolger in Exmouth. Picture: Stuart WoolgerThe wedding ring unearthed by Stuart Woolger in Exmouth. Picture: Stuart Woolger

Shortly after they had posted what had happened, Lympstone-based metal detectorist Stuart Woolger headed down to the beach to start searching for the band.

Mr Woolger, who usually scours fields and other land for hidden treasures, said: “It was a huge area to search in reality - it probably had two tides come in and out since then as well.

“I gridded the area out and started the search. Within 15 minutes, I picked something up and knew straight away that it was a gold ring.”

Mr Woolger said the wedding ring was buried at least six inches into the sand, and would not have been discoverable without his top-of-the-range metal detector.

He added: “When something falls into the sand, it just sinks.

“Ali said to me that they could not find it - if they accidentally stood on it, it was lost.”

Mrs Vallance said she and her husband were not holding out much hope of the ring being found. She added: “We have been married for seven and a half years. If we had not found anything within a couple of months, we were going to buy a new one. We are really chuffed.”

It’s not the first time Mr Woolger has come to the rescue - last year, he and some other detectorists carried out an exhaustive six-hour search to find a wedding ring dropped in the sea by a Leicester couple.

The team failed to find the ring on the first day, but Mr Woolger returned to the scene at 6am the following morning - eventually finding the ring.

Mr Woolger, who has also unearthed a shilling dating back to Charles I and a medieval matrix seal, belongs to a local detectoring group called the MD Finds.

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