David turns detective to find owner of lost memories

A hospital linen services worker turned detective to reunite a woman with memory books charting her life.

David Stothard, management assistant in linen services, was sent photographs, books detailing Hull’s history and other personal items in April from the company contracted to look after linen from Hull Royal Infirmary and Castle Hill Hospital.

Over the next few months, David refused to give up and the trail eventually led him to Sue Davis, the owner of the package of memories.

He said: “I didn’t want to give up because I knew I’d eventually get somewhere and find who it was.

“I’m just really pleased I could help.”

David, who has worked for Hull and East Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust since 2003, knew the books featuring photographs of someone called Sue Davis and postcards of Hull over the decades had been put together with great care.

He checked the trust’s staff list and asked patient administration to see if any patient matched Sue’s name but found no matches. He appealed for information on the trust’s intranet but no one recognised the name or the photographs.

With the package still in his office, he went through each photograph and document until he found a photograph of a Brownie certificate presented to the woman by St Martin’s Church in North Road decades before.

He contacted the church for help and a church-goer recognised Mrs Davis. She got in touch with Mrs Davis’s sister, who then passed on the message to Mrs Davis’s daughter Claire Moverley, who had collected the photographs, books and postcards as a memory aid for her mother, who has dementia.

The package had been lost when her mother was moved out of a nursing home and into temporary accommodation at Dove House Hospice in East Hull during a major refurbishment scheme in November 2017.

As the linen company serviced both the trust and the hospice, the package had been sent to the trust by staff who thought it must belong to a hospital patient.

Claire said: “It was just the most amazing thing when I heard what David had done. I’d almost given up hope of her things being found again and I was phoning every week to see if her stuff had been tracked down.

“I was in tears when I heard David had found us because these were my Mum’s memories.

“She’s regressed back to her childhood and the Brownies are a big part of her life now so it’s great that she can look at her photographs once again.”

David has been nominated by his colleagues for a Moments of Magic award in the trust’s internal staff recognition scheme for his efforts to reunite the books and photographs with the family.

Claire said: “He deserves every bit of it. He took the time and trouble to find us and we’re really grateful for all he’s done.”