Council to the rescue after wedding ring drama

This story was published 5 July 2019

Council contractors came to the rescue when a woman’s wedding ring slipped off her finger and rolled into a drain.

Linda and Rob Baines with Ringway gully operative Simon Mole at the drain

Linda Baines, of Langcliffe, near Settle, was chatting to her neighbour when the incident happened.

The treasured nine carat gold faceted ring rolled down the steep driveway and into the gulley before Linda could grab it.

“Leaning on a brush, I gestured with my hand, because I was making a point, and my ring shot off and flew down the drive,” she explained.

“I thought I would be able to stop it, but it just ran. We both stood there horrified and my friend said ‘it’s going to go over, it’s going to go over’, but it didn’t, it went in the drain.”

Linda thought she would be able to call upon her husband, Rob, to lift the grate up and recover the ring, but he had damaged his back and was unable to help.

“I said well the only option is to call Cllr David Staveley, our ‘go to guy’ in Settle and he said ‘if you leave it with me I will get back to you’.”

Cllr Staveley, who represents Settle and Ribblebanks on Craven District Council, enlisted the help of fellow councillor Richard Welch, who is North Yorkshire County Councillor for the Ribblesdale division, and, after a couple of calls, the County Council’s highways contractor, Ringway, was despatched.

Simon Mole, gully operative, said: “I looked down and I could see the ring glistening under the water in all the dirt. I lifted the gully frame out of the ground, put my hand in and picked it out.”

Simon said it had been one of his more unusual jobs.

“It’s up there at the top, because I have never done that before,” he said. “The only other thing I have pulled out of a gully is a £10 note.”

“It shows that we are there to help and give a good service to everybody,” he added, before offering some advice. “Don’t stand near a drain when you are waving your hands about.”

Linda and Rob, both 70, met while at school in Lancashire and married in Garstang, near Preston, on March 30, 1967.

With the ring back in her possession, Linda has ensured it will not be leaving her sight again.

“It had been slack for a wee while,” she said. “So I went straight down to the jewellers in Settle and she sent it away. It’s perfect. It won’t shoot off anymore.”

As for the response they received from the council, the happy couple said: “The service was superb, it couldn’t have been better. We were very grateful.”

Cllr Welch added that it had been good to bring a happy conclusion to the incident.

“The weather wasn’t looking great and there was a possibility of a thunderstorm. If that had happened it would probably have been gone forever,” he said. “At the end of the day, the staff have a job to do. They probably have a set routine and they will have had to interrupt that to go and help. So it has been a good job all round, really.”

Watch Linda telling the story.