Harrogate soldier helps heal the broken heart of a grieving mum who lost her son's dog tags

Anne Hetherington with her son, Lance Corporal Scott Hetherington.
Anne Hetherington with her son, Lance Corporal Scott Hetherington.

A grieving mum from Manchester has thanked a Harrogate soldier for helping to heal her broken heart.

Anne Hetherington’s son Lance Corporal Scott Hetherington, 22, from Middleton, died in January while serving in Iraq with The 2nd Battalion, The Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment.

Lance Corporal Scott Hetherington.

Lance Corporal Scott Hetherington.

Raising money in his memory, Anne had been walking along Pen-y-ghent in the Yorkshire Dales last month to train for the Three Peaks’ Challenge, when she heartbreakingly lost her son’s two dog tags and St Christopher pendant that she had worn around her neck since his death.

Losing what had made her feel close to her son again, Anne suffered further heartache and grief, until Corporal Ashley Cheetham found one of the dog tags on a tennis court over 40 miles away from where she lost them - at The Academy Health Club and Spa in Harrogate.

The married father-of-two discovered the tag when he was coaching his son at the club.

He thought the tag might have belonged to an Army Foundation College recruit where he is an instructor, until he searched the website of the Armed Forces charity SSAFA, and came across the original appeal from the Manchester Evening News to help Anne be reunited with the tags.

Ashley went back to the club to search for the other tag and pendant, but sadly could not find them.

Anne said: “Neither of us have any idea how the tag found its way there. I was absolutely gobsmacked when I found out that someone had got in touch.

“I started crying. I felt gutted when I lost the tags and the pendant, like I had lost Scott again, and that I had let him down. I want to thank Ashley and the person who found the tag in the first place. I would love to hear from whoever did so that I can thank them, but also find out the exact location it was found to help trace the other tag and the pendant.

“If someone could help me find them, it would help to fill a hole in my heart and make me feel better, like I have not let him down as much. The pendant is very precious because it belonged to my mother, and she gave it to Scott when he was 11 and joined the army cadets. He took it everywhere with him.

“It would make me feel like I have got a bit of Scott back. I know that I can’t have him back, but this would make it easier, like I still have a part of him. I am hoping that this appeal might just jog someone’s memory.”

Can you help Anne be reunited with her treasured tags and pendant? Email finola.fitzpatrick@jpress.co.uk or call 01423 707505.