Divers brought in to retrieve valuable family heirloom from Rufford lake

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Divers have made an underwater rescue to reunite a couple with a valuable ring and family heirloom which was lost at Rufford Abbey Country Park’s lake.

Mansfield Woodhouse couple Julie and Stephen Turner contacted Nottinghamshire County Council’s rangers team in distress after losing the ring in the lake on Sunday, 5th October, while feeding the ducks from a wooden bridge.

The rangers were unable to retrieve the ring but authorised for family friend Phil Elson and his diving team from The Tribe Scuba, from Southglade Business Park, Nottingham, to take part in a search mission to find the ring yesterday(WED).

Following a meeting with county council colleagues Linda Hardy and John Clegg at Rufford to understand more about the geography of the lake, Phil and colleagues entered the water and found the ring within ten minutes using an underwater metal detector.

Julie’s niece Holly had diving lessons with The Tribe Scuba and put her in touch with Phil who undertook the rescue for free as a favour.

Coun John Knight, committee chairman for culture, at Nottinghamshire County Council said: “We are delighted we were able to go the extra mile to help to get this precious ring back. We understand that the ring has been in the family since the 1930s so we are all extremely pleased with the outcome.”

Julie (47) said: “I was distraught when it happened. I had put the ring on and as we were feeding bread to the ducks it literally slipped off my finger and into the water. The rangers tried to retrieve it that afternoon but to no avail, so we got in touch with the diving experts to see if they could help.

“We love visiting Rufford and everyone at the county council and The Tribe Scuba have been so helpful. It has been a difficult few weeks not knowing if we could get it back – we are elated.”

The ring was Stephen’s grandmother’s in the first instance. His grandmother, Doris Gill, then left it to her daughter, Eileen Turner after her death at the age of 102 in 2008, before Eileen sadly passed away two years later. It is a 14 carat gold ring which has a large opal stone held together by four large clasps and is worth around £500.

Phil said: “I was confident we could get it back, but the water is very silty so it was very dark and we had to work inch by inch. The support of the rangers was vital to help build up a picture of where the ring was so we could get it back safely and quickly.”