England international rugby player James Haskell thanks Fulham resident Larry Donaghey for finding his missing Amlin Challenge Cup medal which had been stolen.
RUGBY star James Haskell has thanked an eagle-eyed Fulham resident who spotted one of his medals that had been dumped in a park by thieves.
England star James, 27, was left devastated after his car was broken into in Perrymead Street as he slept at his girlfriend's house nearby on Tuesday night.
Among the items stolen was a runner's-up medal from last year's Amlin Challenge Cup final between James' old team Stade Francais and Harlequins.
James, who is now with Wasps, was resigned to losing the gong forever but was stunned just 24 hours later when the Chronicle contacted his management company with news Fulham resident Larry Donaghey had stumbled across the medal when walking his dog in Eel Brook Common.
And on Thursday James met Larry, a 49-year-old father-of-four from Pearscroft Road, to reclaim his treasured possession.
"I'm really grateful to Larry for getting this back to me," said the 6ft 4ins flanker. "It's never nice to get anything stolen but something as precious as this was hard to take, especially as I'll probably never again get to play a final for Stade Francais. It means an awful lot to me."
Larry, a professional cable wakeboarder, explained the discovery. "I was walking my dog in the park and I saw a load of rubbish just strewn across the grass, including a box. Curiosity got the better of me so I went and had a look and saw a rugby medal. I spoke to my friend who knows James' girlfriend and decided it must be his.
"As a wakeboarder, I know how much my medals mean to me so I had to get it back to him. I was pleased to help."
James lost several possessions in the theft, which happened in the early hours of Wednesday, August 29, but Larry did manage to rescue another important item - one of the star's gumshields.
James joked: "I can go and play on Saturday without my teeth being kicked out now."
He added he hopes thieves return the other stolen items, including clothes, rugby kit and an ice machine.
Police are still investigating the theft, which saw the back window of his car smashed in.