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How a postman, his friend and the Indie ensured 94-year-old 'Nanny' received precious gift of photo album of her great-granddaughter's first year after delivery address was lost




When postman Ian Brown came across a precious item without its packaging in the bottom of his delivery box, he could not bear the prospect of it being destroyed as lost property.

It was an album of baby photos entitled Emily’s First Year – but there was no delivery address and all he had to go on was that it was inscribed “for Nanny”.

So the cowboy-hatted postie, a familiar sight on his rounds in Sawbridgeworth and High Wych, set about trying to find its rightful recipient, and asked friend and High Wych villager Rachel Mabey to help.

Rachel Mabey and Ian Brown (44429531)
Rachel Mabey and Ian Brown (44429531)

Rachel, 46 – part of the St James High Wych Fundraising Group, which organises events in the village including the popular annual scarecrow festival – put out an appeal on social media as Ian does not have a Facebook account.

She said: "[Ian] always goes above and beyond his duties – litter-picking in the village, judging our scarecrow festival, attending our fundraising group café and always bringing his lovely family to support our village events."

She posted a picture of the family featured in the album and shared it on various local Facebook forums in the hope they could be recognised and traced. But her plea yielded only incorrect identifications.

Rob and Sarah Wood's photo album containing pictures of their baby daughter, Emily(44415202)
Rob and Sarah Wood's photo album containing pictures of their baby daughter, Emily(44415202)

In a last-ditch attempt, Rachel contacted the Indie on Saturday (Feb 13) and asked if we could publish her appeal to our Facebook page of almost 12,000 followers. Our post was shared more than 900 times and, within a few hours, the proud mum and dad in the photo had been identified.

Rob Wood, 32, who moved from Sawbridgeworth to Chichester, West Sussex, about 25 years ago, was spotted by a family friend.

He and wife Sarah, 26, had sent the photo album to his 94-year-old grandmother who, because of Covid lockdown restrictions, has missed out on seeing their 15-month-old daughter Emily grow.

In February 2020, before the UK went into its first lockdown, Rob, an IT technician, and Sarah, a former nursery teacher, took the then three-month-old Emily to meet her great-grandmother, who lives in Sawbridgeworth but wants to remain anonymous. It's the only time they have met, so the Woods sent Nanny the book of photos of Emily’s first year.

Rob and Sarah Wood's photo album containing pictures of their baby daughter, Emily(44415200)
Rob and Sarah Wood's photo album containing pictures of their baby daughter, Emily(44415200)

Sarah said that she and Rob were “really grateful” to Rachel and Ian. “It’s been really tough for Nanny to not be able to see [Emily] and we knew that she needed a pick-me-up,” said Sarah.

Rachel said: “They put all that work and love into [making the album]. For it to have been destroyed would have been a disaster. It’s a whole year of [Emily’s] life she’d be catching up on."

She was overjoyed at the outcome of her Facebook appeal. She said: “Nanny has her precious gift at last.”



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