SDLP deputy's delight after lost engagement ring found on beach
SDLP deputy leader Nichola Mallon has thanked the honesty of strangers and the recent heatwave after her missing engagement ring reappeared after 18 months.
Ms Mallon lost the ring at Ballyliffin beach in Donegal.
She had been pushing her daughter on the swings at a play park when it vanished.
Ms Mallon and husband Brendan searched for hours into the evening and again the next morning.
Despite raking the sand, and even strangers helping out with a metal detector, their hunt ended without success.
"I came home distraught and felt awful ever since," she said.
She left messages around the area for anyone to get in touch should it turn up, and now 18 months later, a text message appeared out of the blue about a missing ring posted on Facebook.
The recent hot spell had burned away reeds on the beach leaving the ring exposed for someone to find.
"It probably never would have been found only for the weather," the North Belfast MLA said.
Last week the Belfast Telegraph told the story of how a boy helped reunite lost wedding and engagement rings with their owner after he was on a treasure hunt in Donegal.
And once again social media came to the fore to bring a happy ending.
But even after exchanging texts with the finders and dispatching her husband to retrieve the ring, Ms Mallon refused to believe that it could really be her own until it was back on her finger.
"It had been so long," she said.
"You hear these stories and hope that could happen.
"We never replaced the ring.
"I know everyone's engagement ring has sentimental value, but Brendan picked it out, I never had a say in the matter, and we just thought it was lost for good.
"I'm over the Moon, these things never happen to me."
She thanked sisters Fiona and Amanda Collins for finding the ring and getting it back to her.
"I can't thank them enough," she added.
"It shows you the power of social media and how it can be used for good and that there are good, decent, honest people out there.
"Never give up hope is my message to people out there."