METAL detectorist Gary McDowell was in the right place at the right time to help reunite a Johnstone man with a watch he lost 50 years ago.

Roy White thought he had seen the last of the watch, which was given to him as a 21st birthday present by his parents in 1954.

However, he was thrilled to get the timepiece back after Gary, who lives in the Cochrane Castle area of Johnstone, found it during a treasure hunt with his metal detector in nearby woods.

Gary, 38, noticed an inscription on the back, which read ‘To Roy on your 21st birthday, from Mum and Dad, 27/8/54.’

Determined to return the treasure to its rightful owner, he contacted the team behind the ‘Johnstone our Toon’ Facebook group, who posted a photo of the watch and its inscription.

After being shared numerous times, 83-year-old Roy’s granddaughter alerted him to the post, which meant Gary was able to get in touch and arrange to hand over the lost item.

Gary told the Gazette: “Luckily, Roy still stays nearby in Spateston, so I was able to pop along to his house.

“He couldn’t believe that I’d managed to find it and track him down after all these years.

“Even though the watch is quite rusted, the inscription is still clear and I’m sure it means a lot to him.”

Roy used to live in the Johnstone Castle area before moving with his wife Jessie to Spateston, where they have lived for almost half a century.

He believes he lost the watch sometime in the 1960s and admits he had tears in his eyes when it was returned to him.

Roy said: “I’ve had so many people commenting on how amazing it is to be given my watch back after so many years.

“It was very kind of Gary to get it to me and I am very thankful at being reunited with it.”

Other treasures unearthed by Gary over the years include a Roman coin and a silver fourpenny bit dating from 1836.

He said: “I also found another old Victorian watch about three months ago. However, after seeing how happy Roy was to get his watch back, it is definitely one of the best finds I could have made.”