Author and teacher Sue Wickstead had been working in the garden of her home in Furnace Green, Crawley, when her cherished ring disappeared.
“It was a lovely hot day and I spent the whole afternoon gardening, chopping things back, putting them in bags and taking them to the dump,” she said.
“Suddenly the next day I realised I hadn’t got my ring. I thought it must have got into a sack when I was chopping down plants.
“I searched everywhere, but the bin bags had gone to the dump. I was very disappointed.
“I thought of getting a metal detector, but then I just assumed the ring must have fallen off into one of the bags and I gave up.
“I bought a cheap replacement ring which I wore on my finger and never thought anything more about it.”
Time went by and on Thursday - four years after losing the ring - Sue was out gardening again. And she couldn’t believe her eyes when she spotted her lost ring on the ground.
“I was picking up some weeds and thought ‘what’s that’. I just saw a bit of white gold, although it wasn’t quite as clean as when I last saw it.
“It was a surprise and shock,” said Sue, 61, “a nice surprise and shock.”
The ring is, in fact, the second wedding band that Sue has owned after her original became too loose when she lost weight. She gave it to her daughter Elly.
And on her and husband Geoff’s silver wedding in 2005, son Tom, 33, bought his parents a pair of white gold rings.
Geoff had also long since lost his original. “He never really had a ring,” said Sue.
But now the couple are once more reunited with their bands of gold.
“Now I’ve got mine back, we again have a matching pair,” said Sue - who now does not plan to wear it again while gardening.