A BLEARY woman has spoken of her joy after being reunited with her wedding album — 17 years to the day after it was stolen.
In a remarkable twist of fate, precious photographs of her special day with husband, Nigel, were left on the doorstep of their Plantation Road home following a mysterious delivery on Tuesday afternoon.
Mrs Stewart, who said she has been left “speechless” by the development, is now keen to make contact with the individual or people who returned the album.
The Bleary woman explained the collection of photos were inside a touring caravan — parked at the rear of their home — which was stolen on November 6, 1994.
Gillian, who was pregnant at the time of the theft which took place when she and her husband enjoyed a holiday in Tenerife, said: “We’d had the caravan away for Halloween week at Tolleymore. We’d taken our wedding album to show our friends there, but I’d forgotten to take it out of the caravan.
“I didn’t care about the caravan as the insurance covered it — I just wanted the album back.”
Nigel, who runs Nigel Stewart Motors in Bleary, and Gillian exhanged vows at St Paul’s Parish Church in Gilford on September 4, 1986. Their wedding photos were taken by the late Brian Rooney.
Despite an initial television appeal, for almost two decades the couple had no information on the whereabouts of the photos. However, that was until Gillian made a surprise discovery last week.
“I was coming down the driveway and I saw a package outside our gates,” Gillian said.
“My immediate reaction was that my daughter had ordered something over the internet. But when I lifted the package I could see our wedding album through two plastic papers.
“I was that stunned I walked the whole way across the road to my husband’s garage and set the package down and ripped it open. I was just speechless — I could not believe it.”
Gillian said the album was in the same condition as when she last saw it in 1994.
“There is not even a fusty smell of it or anything,” she said. “Everything is perfect.”
After 17 years the couple were finally able to show their children - Emma (22) and Peter (16) - photos from the wedding day, some containing relatives who have since passed on.
The Stewart family are now determined to find out why the photographs were returned and who was responsible.
“Whoever has found it maybe does not want to be known. Or maybe the person who took it has moved house and it has been found by the new people. We have thought of everything.
“I would love to meet them and thank them as there are not many people out there who would do something like that.”
She added: “It couldn’t have happened at a better time as it was only six weeks ago that we were 25 years married.”
Asked for Nigel’s reaction to the find, Gillian replied: “He joked if he had found it he would have kept it until Christmas and surprised me.”
If you can help solve the mystery, contact Gillian on 3883 2051.