It must be my round by now...
Pensioner is reunited with wallet missing for 40 years
A delighted man has been reunited with the wallet he lost nearly 40 years ago.
Gavin Barr was working as an overseas personnel officer for mining finance giant Charter Consolidated in their newly built office headquarters Charter House in Ashford town centre in 1974 when he lost his wallet.
Mr Barr, now aged 83 and living in Charing, had joined Charter a few years before in 1971, initially undertaking geological exploration in Zaire.
He worked for Charter and its subsidiaries for 12 years in total and at the time of losing his wallet, worked on the fifth floor of the office block in Park Street, which has recently been renamed The Panorama and is being converted into flats and apartments by its new owners Dukelease Properties.
During conversion works, I have been periodically visiting the site to take photographs and to offer information on the building’s original construction.
Just before Christmas, site agent Jim Monaghan for Barroerock Construction, which is undertaking the restructuring works, contacted me to tell me that his colleague Adam Holmes had discov- ered Mr Barr’s wallet after removing one of the original 1970s ceilings.
Adam Holmes said: “We were shocked to find the wallet. It’s not the kind of thing you normally find.”
They asked if the Kentish Express could help find its rightful owner.
I accepted the challenge of trying to locate Mr Barr, and from collecting the wallet from the site to actually finding and speaking to Mr Barr to tell him the good news took just under an hour, thanks to the wonders of the internet.
Mr Barr was “over the moon” about having his wallet returned to him.
He said: “I vaguely recall losing my wallet. It was a very long time ago but I was shocked it was found above the ceiling by contractors.
“I used to travel on the train from the Ashford office to Charter’s headquarters at Holborn Viaduct in London, and at the time I believed that I may have lost it on the train.
“So, I would like to say a big thank you to those who found it and for having the decency to reunite me with it after all these years.”
The wallet contained no money, but inside was a driving licence, two passport photographs, a Barclaycard with a 1975 expiry date, a £30 cheque guarantee card for the Bank of Scotland and a Zambian residence permit where, as a UK resident, Mr Barr had joined the firm, after previously working for the Colonial Service when the country was still a British colony, known as Northern Rhodesia.
It remains a mystery as to how the wallet found its way into the ceiling.
Steve Salter’s Remember When column - page 12
Have you ever been reunited with something you’ve lost, years later? If so please write to Kentish Express, 34-36 North Street, Ashford TN24 8JR or email kentishexpress@thekmgroup. co.uk
The Panorama, formerly known as Charter House