Couple reunited with lost retirement holiday photos in just one day after campaign to find them goes viral

Isabel Taylor and Duncan MacWatt assumed their precious photos had been lost forever when Mrs Taylor dropped a bag containing a memory card

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The Independent Online

A Scottish couple who lost their precious retirement holiday photos had them returned in just 24 hours through the power of social media.

Isabel Taylor, 65, a retired nurse, and Duncan MacWatt, 64, a retired BT engineer, were staying at Cameron House on the shores of Loch Lomond this week.

On Wednesday as they were walking around the Loch, Mrs Taylor dropped a bag containing a memory card with over 150 photos from their three-month retirement trip to Canada and Alaska last year.

“I just assumed that it was lost and that I’d never see it again,” she said.

But Derek Prescott, 69, from Lochgoilhead, Argyll, stumbled across the bag and memory card at Loch Lomond Shores when he was on his way to a hospital appointment.

“I just picked it up and jumped into the car and dashed off to my appointment and when I got home I discovered the memory card inside and put it into my computer,” he said.

“As a photographer, all these pictures came up and I was worried someone had lost their holiday memories.”

Mr Prescott posted a photo of the couple standing in front of the Mendelson Glacier in Juneau, Alaska, in the hope somebody online could identify them.

“I looked about an hour later and there were about four or five shares,” he said. “I couldn’t take my eyes off it. In no time at all, in fact within 22 hours, there had been some thousand shares from my Facebook.

“Within three hours I had messages from people who recognised the couple. It was just incredible. I have messages from America, Canada, New Zealand, Australia and one from France saying they’d shared.”

It was Mrs Taylor’s son’s neighbour who finally identified the couple.

“We were still at the hotel and my son phoned,” said Ms Taylor. “The neighbour had come over and said ‘Your mum’s on Facebook’.”

Mr Prescott messaged the couple and posted the bag and memory card, which arrived today.

In total the photo was shared over 20,000 times and seen by over 150,000 people.

It also went viral on Twitter with the help of website Lostbox, which utilises social media to reunite people with their lost items.

Lostbox founder Clare Owen, 30, from Quarrington Hill, County Durham, said social media is revolutionising the way people locate lost items.

“[Before social media] you’d have to go and print a poster and put it up on a lamppost and hope for the best,” she said. 

“Now everyone’s got a phone in the palm of the hands. Everything’s on the go and it’s so much quicker. Social media’s had a bad press, but it’s the speed and reach which helps people get these items back quicker.

“The community spirit that you see is really heart-warming. There are genuine people out there who really do want to help.”