- A film maker’s platinum wedding ring has been rescued from London’s sewers days before his first wedding anniversary.
- Thames Water
Time stood still as the precious metal flew off the finger of Pascal Gunter, 46, and down into the depths through one of two small holes in an otherwise solid triangular drain cover in Beckton.
“Horrified”, he called Thames Water in the faint hope they would be able to recover it while he continued to shoot an urgent video for a national bank across the City.
“The ring flew from my finger, and it all went into slow motion,” he said. “We all watched as the ring rolled, and rolled, and rolled, and then just disappeared.
“I really didn’t think Thames Water would be able to do anything but they were very kind, and unbelievably understanding. When I heard later in the afternoon that the ring had been found, I was so pleased. It happened almost on the first anniversary of our marriage, and the ring has enormous sentimental value.”
Pascal’s wife, Jane, 37, a clinical researcher, who is about to have the couple’s first child, added: “We really appreciated Thames Water’s generosity in helping recover the ring. Every member of the team we spoke to was incredibly helpful, and the matter was handled with understanding, ease and efficiency. I know Pascal was very relieved!”
Blockage engineer Ian Payne, who found the ring gleaming at the bottom of the manhole shaft and delicately lifted it to the surface with a drain grab, said Pascal had been very unlucky – and then very fortunate.
He explained: “When the ring reached the drain cover, it just happened to drop through one of two small slots into which manhole lifting keys are placed. If it had rolled a centimetre either side, it would have stayed on the surface.
“In another way, though, Mr Gunter was very fortunate. His ring fell into a surface water drain. There had been no rain that day, so there was no water flow to carry the ring down the pipe.
“If it had been a foul or combined sewer, it probably would have been quickly washed along the line into Beckton sewage works, which was close by. Then, it would have been almost impossible to find.”
Thames Water customer co-ordinator Gemma Wiles delivered the precious ring to the Gunters’ home the following day.
She said: “We’re so pleased we were able to get Pascal’s ring back for him. If anything of sentimental or financial value is lost down a drain, we will do everything we can to help.”
Before discovering that his ring has been found, Pascal had been recounting his misfortune to his banking clients in Canary Wharf.
He said: “It appears that losing wedding rings is more common than you think. Three men at the bank said they had lost wedding rings on more than one occasion. However, I have learned my lesson. I am trying to cure myself of my habit of fiddling with my ring. I want it to stay on my finger from now on.”