A story had a magic ending as a street entertainer was reunited with the boy who came to the rescue when a drunk dumped his puzzle in the River Wear.
Alf Hill was left distraught and in tears when his magic horseshoe trick was thrown into the water when he was performing to passers-by on Framwelgate Bridge in Durham City.
The lad himself was mortified about what he had done and apologised.Pc Jayne Marshall
A man had approached him and asked if he could remove a steel ring from the chain between the horseshows.
But instead, the man swore at the 73-year-old and chucked the trick over the bridge.
Alf, a former postman, had bought the trick 20 years ago at a convention and it was of great sentimental value.
Police were alerted about the incident, with Durham Constabulary making a request to Northumbria Police’s marine unit to ask if the horseshoes could be found during a training exercise on the river.
But before they could schedule a visit, 13-year-old Jonathan Lambert, his dad Michael and a family friend managed to recover it after spending two hours by the riverside throwing in a magnet to fish for it.
Now Alf, from Chester-le-Street, and Jonathan and his family have met face-to-face as Alf thanked them and offered them cards to show how grateful he is for their help.
Meanwhile, the man responsible for causing the upset has been dealt with by police after Alf agreed the restorative justice approach would be best.
The man, who had been drunk while out celebrating his 30th birthday, called officers after spotting the story.
Pc Jayne Marshall, who carried out inquiries said: “He had a very guilty conscience and called me and I interviewed him the other day. “Alf didn’t want him to go to court and so I discussed that with him and he was happy for us to go ahead with restorative justice.
“The lad himself was mortified about what he had done and apologised.”
Pc Marshall said it had been touching to see Alf and the Lamberts meet.
“It was lovely, because there are so many bad things that go on and this was something a bit different and shows how nice people can be,” she added.
“I think Alf was also really delighted and I think he was taken aback by the reaction of the public, because so many people had been kind to him after seeing the story.”