Metal Detectorist Reunites Wales Woman With Engagement Ring After 54 Years


Freda Payne’s “Band of Gold” was topping the British singles chart in 1970 when a 22-year-old named Marilyn Birch lost her engagement ring while feeding hay to the cows at her family’s farm near Neath Port Talbot, Wales.

“I came in the house, washed my hands, and no ring,” Marilyn, now 76, told the BBC. “I was really upset. It meant a lot. It’s a token, and that token had gone.”

At the time, the couple tried retracing her steps to find the ring, but the whereabouts of the cherished keepsake remained a mystery. Over the years, the ring her husband, Pete, purchased in 1966 for £18 ($430 in today’s dollars) remained on her mind.

“I kept looking now and again just in case we’d spot it somewhere,” Marilyn told Sky News. “Eventually [we] gave up and decided we were not going to see that engagement ring ever again.”

That’s until metal detectorist Keith Phillips came into their world.

Phillips had received permission from the couple to explore their farm for artifacts. After a few treasure-hunting sessions, all that he turned up were some coins and a lot of junk.

“By the third visit, we had got to know him a bit better,” Marilyn told the BBC. “So I said, ‘Listen now, Keith, never mind all this rubbish you’re finding, go and find my engagement ring’.”

About a week later, Phillips presented Marilyn with a special surprise.

“I speak a lot,” Marilyn admitted to the BBC, “but I just couldn’t speak. I just kept looking at it… It was amazing. Very emotional.”

She reported that Phillips found the ring buried eight inches below the surface.

After cleaning the soil off the ring with a toothbrush, she placed it back on her finger and it fit perfectly after 54 years.

Husband Pete called it a “wonderful moment.”

“She was pleased — marvelous,” he told the BBC. “As long as she’s happy.”

Credits: Images courtesy of Marilyn Birch.

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