Jacky and John Shell at Algar Seco
Jacky and John Shell at Algar Seco

A Christmas miracle from Carvoeiro to the UK!

Staff at Algar Seco Parque find and help deliver lost pendant to the UK – and save a heartbroken 80-year-old’s Christmas!

For 80-year-old Jacky Shell, last Christmas was due to be one of the saddest in his life.

His beloved crucifix pendant, which had been given to him on his 24th birthday by his late mother 56 years ago, went missing in August after he slipped at the Algar Seco Parque resort in Carvoeiro where he had spent many years holidaying with his ‘mam’ and his son.

Jacky and his son John spent the last two days of their holiday searching for the pendant along with the resort’s staff, but to no avail.

“It’s a gold pendant, and all the marble and tile flooring at the resort is also golden, so it made the search even more difficult. We looked everywhere, walked up and down the resort with our mobile phone lights, moved plants around, searched inside the bungalow, checked the showers, under the bed, even in the storm drains… but we couldn’t find it,” John told the Resident.

The crucifix pendant was given to Jacky Shell by his late mother 56 years ago
The crucifix pendant was given to Jacky Shell by his late mother 56 years ago

“My dad was very sad. It’s always sad to return home from a holiday, but I could tell on the flight home that my dad was just really heartbroken. He has a huge emotional connection to the pendant,” said John, who is also an avid cyclist and has “probably cycled every kilometre of the Algarve”.

While they still held onto a sliver of hope that it might be found, John was flabbergasted when he received a call from the resort around three weeks later informing him that the pendant had been found by a gardener who was cleaning out the storm drains.

“We knew who it belonged to. The entire staff had been out looking for days for the pendant, and when we found it, we knew who to call right away,” Algar Seco Parque receptionist Bruno Andrez told the Resident.

“We (Bruno and head of bookings Edite Santos) sent a photo of the pendant to John, he confirmed that it was his father’s pendant, and told us he was going to plan a surprise,” Bruno said.

“They are regular clients, we know them very well and it filled us with joy to be able to find and help return the pendant to them.”

However, John still had to deal with the logistics of having such a small but incredibly valuable item delivered to them in South Shields.

Jacky's reaction when he received the lost pendant
Jacky’s reaction when he received the lost pendant

“It was a difficult process. The item is valuable, and my dad has a huge emotional attachment to it, so it wasn’t a case of just putting it in a padded bag,” said John.

“Then, of course, we had the postal strikes in the UK, so we were all discussing which would be the best way to get it back to the UK.”

The answer was Direct Transport and Removals, which was recommended by a friend and is usually used for the transport and delivery of larger items. However, the company ensured that the pendant was delivered safely – and in time for the Christmas surprise of a lifetime.

John (right) and Jacky showing the beloved pendant

“I bought dad an early Christmas present (a pressure cooker) and carefully opened up the box and stuck the crucifix inside. I still don’t think he has recovered from the shock,” John told us.

In fact, it took some time for Jacky to process what was happening.

“When he first saw the crucifix, he didn’t understand. He kept asking if we had bought him a new one,” said John.

The crucifix pendant was given to Jacky Shell by his late mother 56 years ago
The crucifix pendant was given to Jacky Shell by his late mother 56 years ago

After Jacky had some time to process, the Shell family went out and celebrated the Christmas miracle.

“The staff at Algar Seco Parque were so happy to hear about this. It’s just a lovely story, and we’re so grateful to everyone who helped along the way,” said John, who added that there may still be a ‘sequel’ to this heart-warming story.

“Bruno from Algar Seco has vowed to find my missing coat,” John told us.

“It’s true, we’re still looking for the coat. I’ve asked around all the bars, and there’s still one that has been closed all winter which I will be checking as soon as it opens. It would be an even greater story if we could return the coat too,” Bruno added.

By Michael Bruxo
michael.bruxo@portugalresident.com