Buried beach ball found in Greece after 34 years

Stephen and Lisa buried the ball on their first holiday together in 1983
Stephen and Lisa buried the ball on their first holiday together in 1983

An Uckfield-based hairdresser who buried a beach ball on a Greek island 34 years ago has been tracked down with the help of social media this week.

Stephen Smallwood buried the ball, which had his name and address written on it, as a teenager in 1983 while in Malia with his then girlfriend Lisa Morley.

Stephen and Lisa buried the ball on their first holiday together in 1983

Stephen and Lisa buried the ball on their first holiday together in 1983

“To be honest I didn’t even remember doing it at first,” said Mr Smallwood, who owns TJ’s Barbershop in Uckfield and found out about the ball through his niece Amy Lister who saw the post on Facebook.

“As the day went on I started to flash back more and remember playing with the ball,” he said.

Mr Smallwood, who now lives in Eastbourne, said he was 18 years old and Lisa, now married and living in Cambridge, was 17 at the time of their first holiday together.

“I was doing a hairdressing apprenticeship and she was working for an advertising agency, “ he said.

Stephen and Lisa buried the ball on their first holiday together in 1983

Stephen and Lisa buried the ball on their first holiday together in 1983

“We just walked and bought something to play with and throw to each other in the sea,” said Mr Smallwood.

“I suppose we thought, ‘We can’t take this home with us’ so decided to bury it. I’m not even sure whose writing it is, Lisa’s or mine.”

The 52-year-old hairdresser said it was great the news had travelled through social media even though he himself didn’t use Facebook.

“It would be interesting to know in what circumstances the ball was found,” said Mr Smallwood. “It could be construction going on. There wasn’t a lot there when we went.”

Dale Martin's 3-year-old stepson David, who sparked the plan to trace its owner, with Dale's girlfriend Sereyrath and Cody the dog.

Dale Martin's 3-year-old stepson David, who sparked the plan to trace its owner, with Dale's girlfriend Sereyrath and Cody the dog.

Dale Martin, who owns Scottish pub The Saltire Lounge in Malia, found the ball and posted it on Facebook in an attempt to find Stephen.

Mr Martin said: “I found it back in 2009 while walking my dog after a massive winter storm literally washed all the beach away. It’s sat in my house ever since.

“My three-year-old boy David picked it up and asked ‘What’s this Daddy?’ I guessed maybe a father and son buried the ball on holiday like a time capsule. I didn’t want to throw it out.

“I can’t believe the Facebook post has nearly 5,000 shares.”

Stephen Smallwood swimming towards the ball in the hotel pool 34 years ago

Stephen Smallwood swimming towards the ball in the hotel pool 34 years ago

Mr Martin said he would make contact with Mr Smallwood and arrange to send him the ball if he wanted it.