Thursday 20 July 2017

'It is worthless, but to me it is precious' - Dubliner (91) appeals for help finding her dad's 1910 football medal that she lost more than 60 years ago

Letter written by Nancy Dempsey to Ray D'Arcy show on RTÉ's Radio One (Image: RTÉ)
Letter written by Nancy Dempsey to Ray D'Arcy show on RTÉ's Radio One (Image: RTÉ)
Laura Larkin

Laura Larkin

A 91-year old Dublin woman is appealing for help tracing a medal won be her dad more than 100 years ago.

Nancy Dempsey, from Portrane in north Dublin, lost the gold medal while on her way to work in 1953 or 1954.

A replica of the medal which her husband had made for her was then stolen decades later from her daughter's home in the UK.

In a hand-written letter to Ray D'Arcy Nancy says the loss of the medal, which has huge sentimental value, "still bothers her over 60 years later".

The medal bore an inscription on the reverse which reads: 12th County League won by Portrane Asylum.

In her letter Nancy said "the team was made up of members of the staff of Portrane Asylum", her dad joined the team in 1906 and won the medal around 1910.

"Many years later my father had this medal made into a broach for my mother and eventually this broach came to me.

"Unfortunately I lost it sometime between 1953 and '54 while travelling to work from my home in Portrane to Thomas Street in Dubin.

"Considering the distance I had travelled, it could be anywhere."

While writing the letter Nancy's ballpoint went dry and she apologises in the letter before replacing it.

"There is more to this story," she writes in her new pen.

"Knowing how attached and proud my father was of the medal, my boyfriend (later my husband) asked a jeweller friend of his to make a copy for me hoping that my father would not notice the difference."

The replica was made of a lighter gold and did not have the inscription on the back.

"Eventually this copy was given to my daughter who lives in Cheshire, England. She kept it with all her jewellery which was subsequently stolen in a break in to her home in the late eighties or early nineties.

"So now even the replica is gone," Nancy writes.

"It may be destroyed and I will never see it again but perhaps it is lying in someone's 'button box' and nobody knows where it came from. Who Knows?

"But I would love to see it again. It is worthless, but to me it is precious and for over 60 years it has been like grit under my eyelid," she concludes, adding that perhaps a listener could help.

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