LONG lost photos taken by a Croft couple half a lifetime ago have been returned to them thanks to an extraordinary turn of events.

Croft Parish Council was contacted out of the blue by a photography collector from Barcelona who had developed a roll of film that had been left in a camera for almost 40 years.

Salvador Busquets wanted to return the unseen photos from 1982 – that had ended up travelling 1,000 miles to Spain when he bought some old rolls of film over the internet – to their original owner.

So using remarkable detective skills, he was able to work out that a number of the pictures had been taken at Croft Carnival and asked the council for help.

Croft Carnival 1982

Croft Carnival 1982

Salvador said: "For some years now, I’ve been collecting and using old film cameras. Sometimes these cameras carry half-used film cartridges.

"Although very old and expired, they can usually be developed with some care. In the summer of 2020 I bought a batch of undeveloped 120 roll films from a Manchester seller. He had accumulated them from buying and selling old cameras."

So that is how Salvador stumbled across Doris and Bevan Friar's Kodak Kodacolor II film, which also contained photos from Doris's 40th birthday trip to Crete with their children Beverley and David.

Croft Parish Council was then able to track the couple down by appealing for information on Facebook community groups.

Bevan and Doris Friar

Bevan and Doris Friar

Bevan had taken several photos of the Ladies' Guild float at Croft Carnival in 1982.

Doris was among those dressed as the '8th Warrington Rejects' to commemorate the 75th anniversary of scouting in UK.

The former teacher, who has lived in Croft since 1974, said: "A friend of mine is on the council and she said: ‘Do you recognise anybody on these photos?'

"So I looked at them and realised it was my little friend group. Then I looked at the other ones and it was Crete where we went on holiday.

"At first my husband was adamant that they weren’t his pictures. So I asked my daughter, who lives in Edinburgh, to take a look and she laughed and said: ‘That’s me standing by a plaque’. She was 14 at the time."

Doris and Bevans daughter Beverley in Crete

Doris and Bevan's daughter Beverley in Crete

Many years ago Bevan, who used to be an electrical engineer, had put the camera at the back of the wardrobe and it got forgotten about.

He later sold it to a friend, not realising it had an underdeveloped film in it. It was then sold on again before finding its way to Barcelona.

The photos had been more or less forgotten about but Doris's memories of the day are still fresh – including the reason why she is sitting on the 'toilet tent' in the pictures.

The 79-year-old added: "We used to have the village shop in Croft and I worked in the post office.

"It closed at 12pm on Saturday so on the day of Croft Carnival I had quickly put everything away and lock up and then dash to the area where the floats started from.

"When I got there they were already dressed. They gave me this uniform but the shorts were too small.

"So they convinced me to sit on the toilet tent with the shorts around my ankles reading the Beano! Everyone on that float is still alive today. It was a very happy day. We had such fun.

Doris in the toilet tent

Doris in the toilet tent

"It was in 1982 when we’d gone to Crete to celebrate my 40th birthday

"The weather was awful. We had an earthquake and we had snow but we had a wonderful two weeks. It was the first time we’d been away for two weeks because we had the shop and the post office at the time."

Cllr Norman Partington, chairman of Croft Parish Council, said: "The clerk of Croft Parish Council received a message out of the blue from a photography enthusiast in Spain who had cleverly – and correctly – tracked down the origin of some old film photographs he bought from an internet seller in Manchester.

"We knew that Croft was famous for its carnival, but didn't realise that fame stretched to Barcelona!

Bevan and Doris Friar

Bevan and Doris Friar

"We were delighted to have tracked down that the original owner of the camera was Doris, and to have found some of the people in the pictures. This all somehow epitomises what a great event the carnival is, and how it brings our whole community together."

Doris added: "Everyone in the village has been laughing at these photographs. It’s brought back lots of happy memories. So many people have been back in touch saying: ‘Remember when…’ and all that sort of thing.

"It’s stirred up a lot of happy memories during this Covid misery."