LUCKY: Russell McMillan (left) had his long-lost wedding ring returned by workmate Will Clothier after he lost it in Fiji 10 years ago.
LUCKY: Russell McMillan (left) had his long-lost wedding ring returned by workmate Will Clothier after he lost it in Fiji 10 years ago. Elyse Wurm

UNBELIEVABLE: Mate returns ring found in Fiji 8 years ago

FINDING a needle in 100 haystacks is still more likely than the unbelievable discovery made by a Southern Downs man, which led to a reunion 10 years in the making.

A wedding ring lost in the South Pacific Ocean around Fiji was thought to be gone forever until a casual chat between two workmates brought hope of its return to the surface.

When Russell McMillan lost his wedding ring just four days after it was placed on his finger, he never expected to see it again.

He was snorkelling with his bride, Alana, at the Warwick Resort in Fiji almost 10 years ago.

When the Ellinthorp couple rose to the surface, Alana had clenched her hand so hard to keep her ring, her hand hurt.

But Russell looked down and made heart-dropping realisation his own band was gone.

They searched and searched but the ring couldn't be found.

Russell bought a replacement in Fiji but it was a cut-off piece of pipe that was painful to wear, so he has not worn a wedding ring since.

This week he was chatting to workmate from Maydan Feedlot, Will Clothier, over a beer about a holiday he took to Fiji and it turns out Will had stayed at the same resort as a teenager.

 

The ring is now stuck on Russell McMillan's finger.
The ring is now stuck on Russell McMillan's finger. Elyse Wurm

Russell mentioned he'd lost his wedding ring there all those years ago, to which Will revealed he had found a wedding ring on the same reef about eight years ago.

It was shining on the bottom of the ocean and covered in moss when Will plucked it up.

"I didn't really think it would be it, it's two-toned but he thought it was just gold at the time," Russell said.

Will's parents kept the ring, so he called them.

Two days later, he showed the ring to his mate, who still wasn't sure it was the one but, when he showed Alana, there was no doubt in her mind it was the ring that was lost a decade ago.

"It just doesn't seem real, it's as if it can't be true," Alana said.

"I felt like it was so surreal and it was meant to be, because it's a decade and it makes me really happy.

"There's so many parts to the story I can't believe happened, that they could find it (eight years ago) and then, within two days, Russell could wear it on his finger."

 

Russell McMillan wearing his unique two-toned ring.
Russell McMillan wearing his unique two-toned ring. Elyse Wurm

Russell thought for sure the ring was gone.

"We thought we should go get a lotto ticket, we're pretty lucky," he said.

"For him to even keep it (is lucky), I don't think he's into jewellery terribly."

The ring now sits proudly on Russell's finger but it's now a little stuck, which helps make up for lost time.

"This one won't come off now, I must have been a bit skinnier 10 years ago," he said.

The McMillans are preparing to celebrate their 10-year anniversary in March and are considering travelling back to Fiji.

"I always felt someone would find it, I just thought we would never get it back," Alana said.

"I think it's the universe (saying) we're meant to be together and it's a 10-year wedding anniversary present."

They thanked Will for his gift with a carton of beer.


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