HEARTBREAK turned to joy when a teenager who accidentally lost her silver ring containing her dad’s ashes was reunited with the precious keepsake by a treasure-hunting pensioner.

Leah Puttick lost the memorial ring she had made three years ago in tribute to dad Darren when it slipped off her finger while walking the family dog.

And the 16-year-old feared the worst after searching the grass in vain for three days.

“It slipped off as I was walking my German Shepherd Sasha near my home on Worcester Road in Cinderford,” said the teen, who is expecting her first child in July.

“I felt it go, but it was about 10pm and dark and I couldn’t find it. I was just devastated.

“I kept returning with others to help me look over the next few days, but I couldn’t find it in the long grass and feared I’d never find it.

“Because there was no sign, I thought perhaps someone had found the ring and walked off with it.

“I posted an appeal on Facebook and Terry Cotton got in touch to say he had a metal detector.

“But then the council cut the grass the day before we were due to meet and search, and there was just no sign of it.

“So I really thought that was it then, as it had either been taken or cut up by the mower if it was still there.

“Terry said he’d still have a look and after a few minutes he heard his machine making a noise and dug in the ground and picked something out.

“He said ‘Is this it?’ and I took a look and was just over the moon as he’d found it. I was overjoyed, as I really thought it was gone.

“I had the ring made to remember my dad by, so it’s really precious to me.

“I’m expecting a baby boy with my partner Terry Jones, and we’re both really happy, but when this happened it was a real blow.”

Former John Kyrle pupil Leah, who has a brother and three sisters, said: “It’s a massive thanks to Terry and his metal detector for getting it back. Some of Dad’s ashes are contained in a dye which is part of the ring, which also has gemstones, so it’s really special to me.

“And I’d also like to thank all those who helped me look for it and responded to my appeal on social media.”

Terry, 72, from Milkwall, said: “I go metal detectoring for a hobby, but I’ve got to say this is the best thing I’ve ever found.

“Apart from the fact that it’s a nice ring, it’s extra special that I’ve been able to return such a sentimental item to Leah.

“My neighbour Joan Powles saw the post on the Cinderford Noticeboard Facebook page on Tuesday (April 23) and told me, so I got in touch and arranged to go looking for it on the Friday (April 26).

“Leah messaged back to say the council had cut the grass and not to bother, but I said it’s worth a look, as things can get trodden down into the earth.

“The detector was beeping all over the place, probably from bits of metal in the ground, but then after a couple of minutes there was a really strong signal.

“You couldn’t see any-thing with the naked eye, but I rooted around with my trowel and embedded in the grass was the ring,” said the retired construction manager.

“The best things I’ve found before are old machine gun bullets, a brass shell on the beach and old coins, so this is a great find.

“I’m just off with my cousin metal detectoring in Dorset today, so hopefully I’ll have some more luck.”