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Mum's thanks as photos of tragic partner Leigh McCaughan returned after Facebook plea

By Jonny Bell

Published 19/05/2016

One of Yasmin's treasured photos of partner Leigh McCaughan with son their Carter
One of Yasmin's treasured photos of partner Leigh McCaughan with son their Carter
Yasmin Doyle

A woman has praised the kind-hearted people who helped her retrieve precious lost photographs of her toddlers with their father, who died in tragic circumstances last year.

Yasmin Doyle was with friends at The Botanic Inn in south Belfast over the weekend when she lost her purse, which contained memory cards with thousands of pictures of her late partner with their children.

She described the mementoes as "extremely valuable" and said they were the only pictures she had of her children and their father, Leigh McCaughan, together.

Praying that someone would do the right thing for little boy Carter (3) and two-year-old daughter Lilah and return the memory cards, Yasmin took to Facebook to make an emotional appeal for their return.

"I don't care about the money," the 25-year-old said in her online appeal. "But what I do care about is the cards inside - nothing can replace them.

"My children's father passed away suddenly last August and on those cards are many memories and images of him. I have no other photos.

"I am begging you to please do the right thing and hand the purse in to your local police station - no questions asked, you will be in no trouble."

Leigh (33), a chainsaw sculptor who Yasmin said possessed incredible talent, took his own life last August.

"Words could not begin to describe him and his talent," the north Belfast mum told the Belfast Telegraph. "

Leigh called himself the master root artist. He could sculpt anything out of a tree, big or small, be it any animal or even a person.

"He once sculpted wolves into a memorial bench for the family of a girl in east Belfast who sadly died. He was amazing in everything that he did.

"He crafted the huge animals that you see now in parks and forests, and he would go everywhere and do lots of shows.

"He was proud when he did Balmoral - that was the one he always wanted to display his work at. He was such a talented man. It was so sad he passed."

Yasmin's appeal for the lost photos was shared more than 6,000 times on social media, and to the mother's great relief the purse was returned - with the precious memory cards.

"I was devastated when I lost them," she said. "But when it went viral and so many people were sharing the story, it gave me hope.

"The council contacted me to say they would have the street cleaning crews check for it in the area, and people who I didn't even know said they would come and help me search for it. It was incredible.

"When I got the call to say the purse had been found, I was ecstatic. You really know the people of Belfast have good in their hearts when something like this happens.

"Hopefully everyone that took the time out to share the story will know that I am truly thankful for their help.

"I would be lost without those pictures, and if it has taught me one thing it's to back them up.

"I bought a printer right after they were found and the pictures are going up on the wall."

Belfast Telegraph

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