Harold Hill family ‘over the moon’ with return of Flash the tortoise

Lucy with Flash the tortoise which has now been found

Lucy with Flash the tortoise which has now been found - Credit: Archant

A “beloved” tortoise has been reunited with its family after escaping through a hole in the garden fence.

Jill Lomas, of Harold Hill, was “heartbroken” when Flash went missing but thanks to an appeal launched by the Recorder asking for help in tracking its whereabouts, the mischievous creature was found.

She said: “As soon as I realised it was him, I couldn’t stop crying I was so happy.

“I just couldn’t believe that we had him back.”

Jill started taking care of Flash last month after her neighbour who had owned him for about 50 years died at the age of 93.

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But it was not long after that he disappeared and despite asking neighbours and posting appeals on social media, he was nowhere to be seen.

It was not until Lucy, Jill’s nine-year-old granddaughter, decided to take a clipping of the original Recorder article to school that his whereabouts started to become clear.

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Jill said: “One of the dinner ladies said she knew someone who found a tortoise in Collier Row and after a couple of days she said she thought it was Flash!”

The dinner lady later revealed to Jill that her friend who works for Havering Council was clearing up the neighbour’s house when Flash escaped through the hole in the fence and into the garden.

He then gave Flash to a friend in Collier Row who takes in lost animals.

Jill said: “We got in touch and they brought Flash to our house in a box.

“I couldn’t look inside at first because I didn’t want to be disappointed if it wasn’t him, but when I saw that it was, I was over the moon.”

But another twist in the tale was soon unveiled when Jill took Flash to be microchipped at the vets.

She said: “I was shocked to find out that Flash is actually a she!

“We always just assumed that it was a boy, but I guess we were wrong!”

“If anyone does find an animal, do try and return it to its owner.

“Not all pets have got fur – tortoises and lizards are not your typical pets, but they can be loved just as much as any cat or dog.”

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