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Widow's delight as plaque stolen from bike ace Jim Scott's grave is found after seven months

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Maureen Scott with the plaque

Maureen Scott with the plaque

Maureen Scott with the plaque

A bespoke plaque in memory of a leading North West 200 rider has been returned to his widow seven months after heartless thieves took it from his grave in Ballyrashane.

Maureen Scott never gave up hope that the marble plaque depicting her husband Jim on his motorbike in 1977 when he won the Ulster and Irish Championship would turn up.

Her optimism was rewarded when a man out walking in Antrim in December discovered it lying in a ditch.

The finder, who realised the plaque could have been stolen, left it with his local police station, which posted a picture of it on their Facebook page, where it was brought to the attention of Maureen's son Trevor.

Maureen explained how this random act of kindness reunited her with one of her most treasured possessions.

She said: "My son got a call out of the blue from someone who saw that Newtownabbey and Antrim police had shared a photograph of Jim's plaque asking if anyone recognised it or knew anything about it.

"It was our plaque and it turned out that a man who had been out walking saw it lying in the ditch and handed it in to the police. He left a letter with it explaining he found it in Kilgavanagh Road in Antrim and that he suspected it had been stolen from a grave and then discarded and that he knew the person who had placed it on the grave would be very upset and would like it returned."

Once Maureen realised this was indeed the plaque she had so lovingly placed on her husband's grave, and she was able to confirm this with the police, arrangements were made to bring it home.

Maureen continued: "This was just before Christmas and for me it was the best Christmas present ever.

"Whoever took it must have tried to remove Jim's name so they could sell it on because it is scored, but I have just left it the way it is and I have it in the house with me now so it can't be taken again.

"Shortly after the plaque was stolen local company Murdocks Memorials made me a replacement in time for Jim's anniversary in June and secured it in a way that it will be impossible to steal.

"I am so grateful to the man who found it and so glad I was able to ring him and thank him. It goes to show, you should never give up hope. I always prayed that I would get it back and I knew the motorbike fraternity from all over NI knew it had been stolen and were on the lookout for it.

"While I might never find out who took it in the first place, the important thing for me is I have the plaque back."

Belfast Telegraph