A REWARD has been offered to anyone who finds a ring with huge sentimental value that was lost at Poundbury in Dorchester.

Tincleton resident Sam Marshall, 17, who is a pupil at Thomas Hardye's sixth form, is heartbroken to have lost a yellow gold signet ring belonging to his father who died in 2018.

It was lost yesterday near a play area at Poundbury, where Sam and a friend had been practising sit-ups, said Sam's mum, Rebecca Marshall.

"They had been in the kids' play area and were using a watermelon as part of their training, throwing it back and forth between each other," Mrs Marshall said.

"Boys being boys, and being a bit silly, they then broke the watermelon afterwards.

"While they were clearing up Sam threw a piece of melon out of the park, and he thinks that is when the ring came loose and slipped from his finger.

"It wasn't the greatest of throws and he didn't feel the ring come off, but he noticed it had gone after leaving the park. The boys had videoed each other's sit-ups and the footage shows Sam wearing the ring."

Mrs Marshall said that Sam's father Simon Marshall was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumour in 2017. Sadly, Mr Marshall passed away 13 months later.

Sam has been wearing the ring - which was given to his dad on his 18th birthday - ever since his death.

"Sam is now coming up to his own 18th birthday," Mrs Marshall added. "To say it is of huge significance to Sam is an understatement - he holds his dad in very high esteem and is devastated to have lost it."

Mrs Marshall praised the show of support from the community, with people lending metal detectors to help with the search, as well as assistance from teachers at Thomas Hardye's and the police.

"It's so heartwarming - it restores your faith in humankind," she added.

A reward for anyone who finds the ring has been offered by a close friend of the family. The family friend noted that Sam's father was highly respected for his work with the British government, with tributes in recognition of his contribution to national security being paid during his funeral.

The ring is believed to have been lost between 12pm - 1.30pm yesterday (Wednesday January 16) in an area of open land used by dog walkers, near the play park between Sunny Days nursery and Dorchester Rugby club, Poundbury.

Anyone who thinks they have found the ring is asked to contact Robin Maslin on 07736831466

or robinmaslin@hotmail.com with a reward offered if it is found.