Hospice turns detective to reunite family with heirlooms

WW2 medals returned to local family.

A Birmingham family have been reunited with World War Two medals awarded to their uncle on the front lines of Europe and Africa.

The medals were discovered by staff at the John Taylor Hospice charity shop at Castle Bromwich Shopping Centre when they opened a bag of goods donated to the store. Due to COVID-19 restrictions the team had been unable to open the bag until two days after it had been donated and the man who had given the bag did not leave his details.

Unsure whether the medals had been donated by accident, the hospice made an appeal for the donor to come forward – with the story being shared widely on social media and appearing on local television and radio. And two cousins contacted John Taylor to say they believed the medals had belonged to their uncle.

The medals, which included the Italy Star and the Africa Star, were originally awarded to Jim Hoverd who had served during the war in both Europe and North Africa. It is believed Jim’s only son had recently died in a care home and staff had donated his property to the charity shop.

The two cousins, Barrie Hoverd, aged 71 of Selly Oak, and Nick Hoverd, aged 55 of Marston Green, have now visited the shop to receive the medals.

“My dad Doug and Jim were inseparable,” recalled Barrie, who runs the HobbyRail model railway shop in Sutton Coldfield. “They were both in the RAF and Dad served in Egypt while Uncle Jim was in Palestine and Libya.

“Having these medals really means a lot to us. We are hoping we can put them back onto a medal bar and then pass them round the family. We are so grateful to John Taylor Hospice charity shop for putting out this appeal and making so much effort to find the owner.”

And cousin Nick added: “Having these medals puts a sense of pride in them back in the family.”

Shop manager Rachael Quinney said: “We are so pleased to reunite the Hoverd family with the medals which belonged to their Uncle Jim. We would like to thank everyone who responded to our appeal and helped us ensure they were returned to their rightful home.”

John Taylor Hospice has charity shops in Castle Bromwich, Erdington, Wylde Green and Brownhills. The shops are always happy to receive donations and are keen to hear from people interested in volunteering. Information is available here