Thieves in Northern Ireland have returned a bike stolen from a nine-year-old boy shortly before the first anniversary of his father’s death.
The bike was stolen from outside James Brewster’s home in Pinebank, Craigavon, County Armagh last Monday, reports the Belfast Telegraph.
His mother Una launched an appeal on Facebook for the return of the silver mountain bike, the last gift James received from his father before his death 12 months earlier after the 43-year-old collapsed at home.
She wrote: “I am appealing to the person who, over the last few days, was along the path in front of houses nos. 121-126 in Pinebank, and who saw the opportunity to steal my son's silver bike, to please return it.
“Let me put you in the picture ...you have caused more heartache to a child who tomorrow will be remembering the nightmare which unfolded one year ago to the day ...one that NO child should ever experience, that of losing his father .... and to make it worse this bike was a gift from his daddy. If you have a heart at all return the bike please and nothing more said.”
The post was shared more than 1,200 times on the social network, with the bike turning up three days later.
Mrs Brewster described the return of the bike as "a miracle in Pinebank," with the video showing how James’s reaction at discovering it in the garden changed from one of shock and disbelief to one of joy.
Speaking of the theft, she said: "It was the first time he had cried over the last few days, with the whole build-up to the anniversary.
"I said, 'We'll get this sorted, we'll get it back. I'll do a campaign on Facebook and put out an appeal'. He lit up at that. I thought I would try and speak to the person that did it."
James told the Belfast Telegraph: "When I came home from Gaelic after-school club, I went into the garden without knowing my mum had seen the bike.
"I actually looked at the bike and didn't think it was really there. I thought I was dreaming. It's the last thing my dad gave to me as a present.
"It was pretty amazing that so many people came on Facebook to try and find it, and everybody gave us huge support to try and find it. I've been barely off the bike since."
Mrs Brewster said: "It's made our Christmas already. James's younger brother, Michael and sister, Clara are over the moon, especially Clara, who cycled to school with him this morning.
"We'll be keeping it for ever – there's no doubt about it. It's a miracle bike."
Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.