Reunited against all odds: Lost item's bizarre return to Harrogate

Mrs Richards is pictured with her two children Brady, 10, and Jordan, 8, outside the front door at Belmont Grosvenor School.
Mrs Richards is pictured with her two children Brady, 10, and Jordan, 8, outside the front door at Belmont Grosvenor School.

When North Yorkshire mother-of-two Tara Richards lost her mobile phone while travelling in Europe, she thought it was the last she would see of it.

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But thanks to a photo of her two children wearing their Belmont Grosvenor School uniforms – and the detective work of a German doctor – Mrs Richards has been reunited with her missing mobile.

Mrs Richards, whose two children Brady and Jordan are pupils at Belmont Grosvenor, an independent Harrogate prep school, lost her mobile phone while holidaying in Germany.

As she boarded a plane in Dusseldorf en route to Nuremberg, Mrs Richards realised her phone was missing and, despite extensive checks, was unable to find it.

She said: “We went back into the airport lounge, looked everywhere but just thought someone must have picked it up and stolen it.

“You feel completely lost without your phone – the hardest part was trying to communicate with the rest of the family who I was due to meet in Nuremberg.

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“I was also driving abroad and wanted to use my navigation app – but in the end I cancelled everything on my phone and bought a new one,” she said.

Weeks later, Belmont Grosvenor School photographer Stephen Garnett received an email from a doctor in Germany who had tracked him down by the picture he had taken of the Richards children – despite the phone being locked, Stephen’s website address was just about visible on the home screen.

Stephen contacted Belmont Grosvenor, who contacted Mrs Richards, and her phone was sent in the post from Germany!

Mrs Richards said: “We were thrilled that someone had tracked us down and that they would go to so much trouble to get in touch with the photographer, who then got in touch with you, who got in touch with us!

“It really restores your faith in humanity when something like this happens. This gentleman posted the phone back to us here in Harrogate and we sent him a letter and a thank-you card in return – it really was so good of him.

“We can’t thank him enough – and it was thanks to the children being pictured in their Belmont Grosvenor School uniforms on the front of my phone."

Dr Carl Kolvenbach said his mother-in-law had discovered the missing phone while travelling to visit him and his family in Dusseldorf.

He said: “As we know, a phone today is more than just a communication device - it saves all our contacts, sms, e-mails, messages, passwords, banking information as well as photos and all the associated memories. I would go crazy losing my phone with all its photos so I am very happy that I could return the phone and to give someone a part of his memories back again."