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Stoke Newington resident reunites treasured lost book with Holloway owner

PUBLISHED: 15:27 09 July 2020 | UPDATED: 09:05 10 July 2020

Alexandra visited John Driscoll at his house in Holloway and they had a

Alexandra visited John Driscoll at his house in Holloway and they had a "lovely cuppa, a Viennese whirl and a long chat. Picture: Alexandra Hamit

Alexandra Hamit

A Stoke Newington resident has finally reunited a missing ‘Missal’ book to its owner after three years spent searching for him.

The missing MIssal was found by a member of St Mary's church  in the gutter of Edgeware Road. Picture: Alexandra HamitThe missing MIssal was found by a member of St Mary's church in the gutter of Edgeware Road. Picture: Alexandra Hamit

The Catholic liturgical book, which contained prayers and memorials of relatives and friends now passed, was handed to Alexandra Hamit while she was volunteering at St Mary’s Church in Stoke Newington.

It was found in the gutter in Edgware Road in 2017 and Alexandra could tell it was of great sentimental value.

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John and Alexandra with the missing Missal.John and Alexandra with the missing Missal.

Alexandra said: “It had a note from the owners mum inside, showing it was a gift from her for his confirmation in 1960. The receiver was John Driscoll.

“There was also an address inside but when I called at the house the current owners had lived there for 16 years and never heard of John.”

Alexandra said she kept the Missal in a plastic sealed bag on top of her fridge, looking at it everyday.

The message John's mother left in his Missal on the day of his confirmation. Picture: Alexandra HamitThe message John's mother left in his Missal on the day of his confirmation. Picture: Alexandra Hamit

“I spent three years intermittently searching for the owner in various ways, calling all of the churches named on keepsakes in the Missal in England and Ireland. I contacted various Irish social clubs and venues, I tried searching Facebook, electoral rolls and family trees. Every search ended nowhere.”

Recently she started looking for John again and posted about it on her local Stokey Folks Facebook group.

“I thought that might be my best chance. It got shared multiple times and leads started to come in. Within just a few hours, I had been sent John’s contact details.”

The Missal was filled with memorial cards of relatives and friends who have pased away. Picture: Alexandra HamitThe Missal was filled with memorial cards of relatives and friends who have pased away. Picture: Alexandra Hamit

The post had reached all the way to John’s family and friends in Ireland, where he was born.

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After making contact Alexandra went to the 74 year-old’s house, just “up the road” in Holloway, to return the missing book.

Alexandra posted about meeting John and thanked everyone who helped find him. Picture: Alexandra HamitAlexandra posted about meeting John and thanked everyone who helped find him. Picture: Alexandra Hamit

John, who isn’t on the Internet, said he was “over the moon” when he received the treasured Missal.

“My cousin phoned me from Ireland and they were all talking round the neighbourhood and that’s how it got to where it did.

“It’s unbelievable! From the day I lost it I’ve never had it out of my mind but I never of thought I’d see it again. I thought if someone found it they were going to open it up, tear it up and throw it all away.”

The post on Stokey Folks' facebook page whcih helped find John. Picture: Alexandra HamitThe post on Stokey Folks' facebook page whcih helped find John. Picture: Alexandra Hamit

“It just shows what a small world we’re living in.”

Alexandra spent 3 years trying to find the owner of the missing book. Picture: Alexandra HamitAlexandra spent 3 years trying to find the owner of the missing book. Picture: Alexandra Hamit

John was recently reunited with the Missal book he lost in 2017. Picture: Alexandra HamitJohn was recently reunited with the Missal book he lost in 2017. Picture: Alexandra Hamit

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