Chelsea Campbell has been reunited with her late father's ashes, which were kept in a pendant and lost in Countdown supermarket. He was later found in the cottage cheese section. Picture: John Borren
Chelsea Campbell has been reunited with her late father's ashes, which were kept in a pendant and lost in Countdown supermarket. He was later found in the cottage cheese section. Picture: John Borren

Father's ashes found in supermarket's cottage cheese section

"GRANDAD Jim" was always a prankster.

His family speculate maybe that's why his ashes, locked away in a bejewelled pink pendant, were found in the cottage cheese section of a New Zealand supermarket.

The pendant was lost two weeks ago after Chelsea Campbell and her daughter, 8, visited the store while running errands. Campbell's daughter had been wearing the pendant when she and her mother later realised a clasp on its chain had broken, and the pendant was missing somewhere in the supermarket.

Frantic searches by the family, staff and complete strangers failed to uncover the pendant. Campbell said she accepted "he was gone" a few days ago.

"It was like being in the process of grieving again," she said.

It had been a tumultuous few weeks for Campbell since the pendant went missing. One of her pets died, and another went missing.

However, a Facebook message on Sunday changed everything: "Hi Chelsea. I work ... in the chilled department. I found your lost pendant in amongst the cottage cheese."

"I couldn't believe it," Campbell said.

She and her daughter hopped in the car to pick up the pendant from the Countdown staff member that night.

"I was in shock. She had tears in her eyes. I had tears in my eyes. I gave her a huge hug. She was very happy to bring him home to me."

Campbell said she was so overwhelmed; she struggled to remember how the staff member found the pendant.

Campbell said her daughter was especially happy.

"She started crying. She was so happy. She felt so guilty. Once we came and got Granddad Jim and jumped into the car, she wanted to hold him all the way home."

Campbell's father died in March 2016 from bowel cancer. Campbell, her sister and their step-mother shared his ashes, They each carry identical pendants.

Campbell said she had no idea whether her dad even liked cottage cheese but described him as "a real prankster".

"He would be cracking up [at this]. He liked playing tricks on people."

She plans to have the chain fixed and strengthened and only have the pendant worn on special occasions.

"It's just a relief. I'm just at peace now. I'm just so happy."

Fraser Cove countdown store manager Dwaine Geddes said the team was delighted to have found the pendant.

"Our staff have been on the lookout since we were alerted to it being missing, and it was fantastic to find the pendant at what's no doubt been a very worrisome time for the customer.

"We assume another customer found it and put it somewhere obvious for the team to find as we regularly clean and re-stock these shelves, and we're really pleased to see such a special item returned."

This story originally appeared in the New Zealand Herald and has been republished with permission.


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