Cambridgeshire

Vicar reunited with 1964 Rupert Bear annual

Rev Peter Cunliffe
Image caption Rev Peter Cunliffe has been reunited with his 1964 Rupert the Bear annual

A couple has reunited a much-loved children's book with its owner after realising the name inside was that of the vicar who married them.

Steven Herring bought the 1964 Rupert the Bear annual at a jumble sale in Barking in the early 1980s.

He rediscovered it during a recent garage clear-out at his home in Hemingford Grey, Cambridgeshire, where he has lived since 2007.

"I flicked through and I couldn't believe the name that I saw," he said.

"[It was] that of our local vicar - who married us here four years ago."

Image caption Rev Cunliffe signed the book as a 10-year-old in 1964

Retired engineer Mr Herring, 66, and his wife, Esther Harrod, 67, were married by the Reverend Peter Cunliffe in 2015.

"I asked Esther if she knew Peter's middle name and that's when she turned detective," said Mr Herring.

"It's an extraordinary coincidence. To go to that jumble sale - on that weekend - and buy that book. Peter was dumbfounded."

Mr Cunliffe, who has been the vicar of St James' Church for 17 years, wrote his name in the book in 1964 when he was 10 and living in Letchworth.

He said he loved the picture book because it told the story with few words.

"I remember it very clearly, Rupert was a favourite. It took until I was 30 to realise I was dyslexic but I followed the story in the annual really easily.

"I was really surprised. I had no idea when I had lost it - I had no memory of giving it away. It was very intriguing. It evokes that feeling of comfort and cosiness you have as a child.

"And it's not in bad condition either."

Image caption Esther Harrod and Steven Herring returned the 1964 annual with its childhood owner - their local vicar

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