A STUNNED couple have at long last been reunited with photos of their wedding — 35 years after a roll of film was stolen from their reception.
Mick Hepworth, 60, and wife Tracey, 55, were devastated when thieves swiped a handbag containing the film shot by a relative during their nuptials in 1985.
Relatives gave chase and the yobs discarded the handbag belonging to Tracey’s cousin Karen Williams as they fled.
The couple gave up all hope of ever seeing the sentimental snaps again.
However, passer-by Angie McHale had picked up the handbag that night and had the snaps developed. She had no way of tracing the people in them, so stored them away.
Angie was packing up to move in January when she came across the pictures again.
She posted them on Facebook, asking if anybody knew who they belonged to — and within hours she was put in touch with the Hepworths.
Karen, 55, had her handbag nicked while she was on the dancefloor at the reception at a pub in Leeds, West Yorkshire.
Family members chased the thieves to another pub where a fight broke out and Karen’s dad was stabbed.
Almost 35 years on, Angie recalled: ‘I was walking down the street when I spotted the handles of a handbag. The bag was empty but beside it was a roll of film.
‘I decided to take the film to be developed and discover what was on the photographs.
‘There was no internet then, I just didn’t know how I would find out who was in the pictures.
‘I came across them again after having a clear-out ready to move and thought I could try one last time to find the people involved.
‘I vowed to find them.
“I would never have thrown the photographs away, I just never thought I would find them.
‘To put faces to the old photographs is incredible.’
Karen’s sister Christine said: ‘Somebody I know messaged me and said, “I think I have spotted you on some old photographs”.
‘Everyone locally had shared it, there were 400 or 500 comments when I saw the post.
‘I got asked, “Have you seen this?”
‘I couldn’t believe it, the photographs posted on Facebook were the missing ones from 1985. Our family were absolutely amazed.’
When Angie turned up at the family’s home in Leeds, Karen and her mum Marjorie were waiting with flowers.
Tracey said: ‘It was lovely to see such happy memories of a wonderful day despite the unfortunate incident with my uncle.
‘I remember it was such a happy and exciting day for us all as a family.
‘We will be celebrating our 35th wedding anniversary on 6 July.
‘It was a thoughtful gesture from a complete stranger to decide to track down the owner of the photos.
‘We have sadly lost some family from these photos but it’s a lovely reminder of them.
‘It just shows Facebook can be used for good and I was completely surprised at how many comments there were wanting to know if we were still together.
‘Happily we are, so the story did have a happy ending.’