Heartbreak was turned into joy for a boy in Northern Ireland after the bike which was the last gift his late father gave him has been returned by the thief who had stolen it.
James Brewster, 9, was heartbroken when his beloved silver mountain bike went missing from his back garden.
He explained to his mother Una that it meant so much to him because it was the last thing his dad ever gave him.
James’ mother Una was understandably upset to see her son in such pain, so she immediately set out to do all she could to get James his bike back.
She set up a campaign on Facebook to appeal to the thief’s better nature, and explain that this was more than ‘just a bike’ to James.
The post was shared thousands of times by people in the family’s home town of Pinebank in Craigavon, Co Armagh.
Una described the return of the bike as “a miracle in Pinebank”.
“It was the first time he (James) 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.”
“I was leaving the house to do the school run and someone had returned James’s bike
“What a beautiful ending to this story, and one I had faith was going to happen, the reason being the incredible outpouring of concern from so many people.
“To whoever returned the bike, you have done an amazing thing – an incredible thing – and have made James one very happy boy. Thank you.”
James’ father Phelim was a popular GGA player in the local area. He tragically died last year aged just 43 after collapsing at home.
Una added: “He was known by everybody. He had time for everybody and loved to chat and have a good banter.
“It’s made our Christmas already. James’s younger brother, Michael (4), and sister, Clara (6), are over the moon, especially Clara, who cycled to school with him this morning.
“The amount of people who went out of their way, it renews your faith in human kindness. We’ll be keeping it for ever – there’s no doubt about it. It’s a miracle bike.”
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.”
Una recorded James’ reaction when he got home from school to find his stolen bike had been returned. Take a look below.