WHEN Danielle Boylan dropped her camera in the River Avon a year ago she thought it was gone forever.
Even a specialist diving team from Stratford British Sub Aqua Club – organised by The Observer – were unable to locate the camera, which contained treasured pictures from her son’s 18th birthday taken the night before.
But fast forward 12 months and the mother-of-two has finally been reunited with her camera after contractors brought in to dredge the river answered her plea to have one final look and surprisingly fished it out.
Although the camera is no longer usable, the SD card survived its underwater encounter unscathed and miraculously, the pictures have all been saved – much to the family’s delight.
Speaking to The Observer this week, Danielle’s mum Mandy – who first contacted us after the camera was lost – said: “I was completely gobsmacked when the dredgers pulled it out.
“I had been going down throughout the year in the hope someone might know something.
“Then when I read they were dredging the river for the first time in 14 years I thought ‘Here’s my chance’ and called the company to tell them the story.
“Although they weren’t supposed to be dredging that part of the river, the two lads from Avon Navigation Trust were wonderful and agreed to have a look.
“The camera is bright red so it was quite distinctive and after they pulled the first scoop out, there it was lying on the top shining in the sun like a beacon!”
The drama had begun more than a year ago when having spent the weekend celebrating Shakespeare’s Birthday with her nephew Sam, Mandy’s daughter Danielle was hoping to wind down by feeding the ducks at the end of a long day.
Unfortunately though, the four-year-old had other ideas and as he prepared to throw his final piece of bread, he fell forward and almost tumbled into the river.
Instinctively grabbing the youngster, Danielle dropped the camera she was holding into the river.
Distraught, Mandy contacted the paper to see if anything could be done and we got in touch with Stratford British Sub Aqua Club who kindly took to the Avon in full scuba gear – much to the interest of passing crowds.
But despite finding two other cameras, they were unable to find Danielle’s and the dream of being reunited with it was over – or so she thought.
Mandy added: “The public have been so supportive and I’ve even had people on the bus asking me whether I ever got the camera back.
“I spoke to a lady who was heading into town and she said she’d have a look while she was down there, which was just incredible.
“It’s times like these that make you realise there are good people who will go out of their way to help you and this story just highlights how the heart of the community has pulled together for our benefit – it’s wonderful.”
Nigel Maris and Angie Deaves from the Stratford Scuba Diving Club with Danielle Boylan who dropped her camera in the river while trying to save her three-year-old nephew Sam from taking an early swimming lesson. 19.013.019.strat.jm1
Stratford British Sub Aqua Club divers Angie Deaves and Nigel Maris joined the swans in their attempt to find the camera last year. 19.013.019.strat.jm4
Danielle with one of two cameras fouind by Angie and Nigel in the river. 19.013.019.strat.jm6