A couple who lost their camera along with all their precious travelling photos will be reunited with them, after a determined Dutch man incredibly managed to track them down on social media.
Michael Hudspith from Rose Green, Bognor, and his financé Natalia Gorecka thought their camera had been stolen in Sri Lanka over Christmas and were ‘gutted’ that all their pictures had seemingly been lost forever.
So Michael was shocked when he logged onto Facebook on Monday morning, January 16, and was inundated with messages from people who had seen their missing snaps and recognised them.
Sander van Rijswijk from Holland had uploaded some of the pictures on Facebook, having found the camera in a taxi.
In just a day his post had been shared nearly 4,000 times.
Speaking to the Observer on Monday, Michael said: “I just found out today, it’s incredible!
“I can’t get over it, the guy is a complete hero.”
Michael went to school at St Richard’s Primary School in Chichester and then St Philip Howard High School in Barnham.
The couple are both teachers and met working at a school in Portsmouth, before moving to China three years ago.
He said: “We lost it over Christmas in Sri Lanka and had assumed it had been stolen as unfortunately we had some money stolen as well when we were there.
“It was Natalia’s camera and was a gift from her parents so she was gutted.
“It had a lot of our memories and photos on it, which was what made it worse. We assumed we would never see it again.
“As we’re in China I don’t get on Facebook very often and I logged on today randomly and had all these message from people in Portsmouth where I worked who recognised me.
“I’ve also had a bunch of messages from complete strangers trying to let me know.
“We’re now arranging for him to return it.”
Luckily Southampton football fan Michael was wearing a Saints shirt in the pictures, so Sander got in touch with fan groups who shared the appeal and helped trace them.
Michael said: “It restores your faith in humanity as all you see nowadays is how Facebook is used to pedal fake news stories or abuse people.
“It was shared around 4,000 times or something stupid and some Southampton fan groups have been spreading it as I had my shirt on.”
Speaking to the Observer, the hero of the hour Sander said he was travelling around Sri Lanka with his girlfriend and three-year-old son.
They came across a bag with Michael and Natalia’s camera in it by mistake, after searching a taxi they had taken to a village called Ella to look for a bag they had lost containing his son’s toys.
After returning to Holland he decided to post some of the pictures on Facebook, and after being accepted in a Southampton fans’ group, his post there was shared 3,900 times in just a day and the pair were identified.
He is now making arrangements to post the camera and memory card to England and denied his actions were heroic.
Sander said: “For me it’s a normal thing to do I guess. I would hope that if I ever lose my camera and pics that someone else would do the same for me.”
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