A WIDOW who lost a beloved gold ring while being attacked by a bee near its hive has been reunited with it - thanks to a treasure hunter in a full beekeeping suit.
Metal detectorist Andrew Coombs spent four hours surrounded by more than 80,000 swarming insects tirelessly hunting for the missing piece of jewellery.
The 56-year-old, who runs a metal detecting club, received an email from distressed Diane Oliver asking for help after she lost the ring in the grounds of her workplace.
Diane, a housekeeper at Upham Farm near Southampton, told Mr Coombs the ring - given to her by her late husband - had flung off as she tried to swat away a bee caught in her hair.
The unusual request for help meant Mr Coombs had to put on the full beekeeping suit to protect himself as he searched near three beehives on the farm, where the ring was lost.
Mr Coombs, from Portsmouth, said: ‘I spent hours going up and down in the area that the ring was supposed to be while bees were flying in and out of their hives, and found nothing.
I am still buzzing that I have made someone very happy, and that is a great feeling.Andrew Coombs
‘I spoke to Diane who told me she waved her hand and felt the ring go down her top, and then she had run away in a totally different direction of where I had been searching.
‘I tried again in the area that she told me it might be, flattening the long grass and 18 inch high thistles and within 20 minutes I had a good signal.
‘I parted the long grass and saw this gold ring in view. I picked it up with delight and gave a great yell at the top of my voice. I was overcome with emotion.
‘I took the ring to Diane who looked at me with disbelief, as it was of very great sentimental value to her.’
Mr Coombs, an IT administrator, did not ask for a reward or payment, so was surprised to find a gift bag waiting for him at his car.
He added: ‘We chatted for half an hour and once I walked back to the car there was a gift bag with a bottle of chilled champagne placed on the bonnet of my car along with a thank you tag from Diane.
‘I am still buzzing that I have made someone very happy, and that is a great feeling.
‘That’s one of the reasons why I love the metal detecting hobby.’