It must be my round by now...

Pen­sioner is re­united with wal­let miss­ing for 40 years

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Lost In 1974... Found In Revamped Building - By Steve Sal­ter

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.

Pic­ture: Gary Browne FM2850024

The Panorama, for­merly known as Char­ter House

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