Liverpool

Widow reunited with husband's ashes stolen near River Mersey

Nell and John Ryder Image copyright Family photograph
Image caption Nell and John Ryder were married for 24 years before his death in January 2016

The widow of a man whose ashes were stolen has been reunited with them after a woman found the missing urn underneath her car.

Nell Ryder was devastated to find the ashes of her husband John had been taken from her car in Liverpool on Saturday before the family could scatter them on the River Mersey.

Ann Stone, 60, found the container on Darby Road on Monday and said she was "thrilled" they could be returned.

Mrs Ryder said she was "overwhelmed".

The widow, from Chester, had travelled to Liverpool to carry out the final wishes of her Toxteth-born husband by spreading his ashes on the River Mersey.

But when she returned to the car from a family meal, she saw a window had been smashed and the container holding the ashes of Mr Ryder, who was a carpenter, had been taken along with presents for her grandchildren.

Image copyright Stephen Johnstone and Son
Image caption Mrs Ryder thinks the thief mistook the container for a whisky presentation box

Funeral director Stephen Johnstone confirmed the ashes are those of Mr Ryder and returned them on Monday evening.

Ms Stone said she had just returned from holiday so "had no idea" about Mrs Ryder's appeal to find the ashes.

She said she was unsure at first what the container was after finding it inside a carrier bag near her car.

"To be honest my first thought was that it had whisky in it but then we saw the funeral directors number on it and realised.

"I'm absolutely delighted I could return his ashes to his wife. My parents have gone and it is devastating," she said.

Mr Johnstone, from Saltney, Chester said: "I'm buzzing. I'm so made up for her. This has made one family so happy.

"It was such a shocking thing to happen but what a result to be reunited with them."

Mrs Ryder said her late husband had "a typical Liverpool sense of humour" and "would have been amused by it all".

More on this story