Guernsey Press

Matt and his trusty metal detector come up trumps

FOR a fortnight Tessa Le Gallez was so stressed she could hardly sleep after a freak accident meant she lost her late mum’s wedding ring in the sea at Les Amarreurs.

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Metal detectorist Matt Kneebone came to the rescue when Tessa Le Gallez lost three rings of huge sentimental value when she went swimming at Les Amarreurs. Not for the first time, he was quick to find valuable items – he believes he has about an 90% success rate - much to the delight of their owner, who had been distraught at their loss. (Picture by Luke Le Prevost, 32502146)

But when the tide was right, Matthew Kneebone and his trusty metal detector recovered it again in just 20 minutes.

‘A crowd had formed on the beach, people had been asking what we were doing so came to watch,’ said Miss Le Gallez.

‘There were people crying and cheering. I didn’t cry, my eyes just lit up and I hugged Matty straight away. I was elated.’

Miss Le Gallez thought her rings had gone for good after she went swimming with a friend. Her dog followed her down the beach and jumped in after her. It caught the chain around her neck, which had three rings on, and snapped it. In the chaos, there was no chance to save anything.

The joyous moment when metal detectorist Matt Kneebone found the rings that Tessa Le Gallez has lost while swimming at Les Amarreurs. (Picture supplied by Tessa Le Gallez)

‘I put the rings on a really strong chain as I didn’t want to lose them as I was going in the sea. I like to always have them on me, it was such a freak accident that the chain was snapped,’ she said.

All three of the rings belonged to her mother, who died in April. The chain and a pendant on it were also lost to the ocean.

‘I was devastated, so I called Matty straight away. I knew he would be able to help.’

He told her to take a photograph of the area which would help him to search the right spot. They went down, with a group of friends, to conduct the search on a spring tide last Friday.

‘I knew in my heart of hearts that Matty would find the rings, but I didn’t sleep for two weeks because of the stress I was feeling,’ said Miss Le Gallez.

It took just 20 minutes to find the rings, the pendant and the chain.

Mr Kneebone said he had found lots of sentimental items on the shore, including a rare military badge, and a ring that was lost on a beach, that a 71-year-old woman had owned since she was 21.

The rings which Tessa Le Gallez lost and the heavy chain on which she had put them. (Picture supplied by Tessa Le Gallez)

‘I’ve had quite a few calls to find things,’ said Mr Kneebone. ‘I don’t find everything, but I would say I find 80% of things. I’ve done quite well in the last three to four years.’

People often offer to pay Mr Kneebone for his help, but he asks them instead to make a donation to the Guernsey Kidney Patients Association. He had a kidney transplant in 2017.

‘Matty doesn’t want any recognition or credit, but I think he deserves it. I, and all the people he has helped, will never be able to thank him enough,’ said Miss Le Gallez.