Stoke Newington resident reunites treasured lost book with Holloway owner
- Credit: Alexandra Hamit
A Stoke Newington resident has finally reunited a missing ‘Missal’ book to its owner after three years spent searching for him.
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.
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.
“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.”
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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 post had reached all the way to John’s family and friends in Ireland, where he was born.
After making contact Alexandra went to the 74 year-old’s house, just “up the road” in Holloway, to return the missing book.
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.”
“It just shows what a small world we’re living in.”