Tears of joy as a husband hears ‘lost’ recording of his late wife’s voice

The World
The BBC's Jonathan L'Anson plays a recording for Stan Beaton.

Sometimes it can be the simplest things that remind us most of a loved one. For some people it might be photograph or a home movie. But for others it can be as simple as an old answer machine greeting. And when that kind of memento is lost and then found, the emotion can be profound.

That's why a short video from a news team in northern England has proved such a hit around the world.

Stan Beaton, 68, lost his wife, Ruby, to cancer more than decade ago. Ever since then, one of Stan's most treasured possessions has been the short greeting message Ruby recorded on their old answer machine. It was the only record he still had of her speaking voice. For years, Beaton had transfered it carefully from phone to phone, so he could still listen to it.

Until last month, that is. Beaton's phone provider informed him that they were performing an upgrade to his service, but didn't tell him that the recording of Ruby's voice would be erased in the process.

Listen to the recording here:

Beaton was shocked. "This was where he went when he was feeling down, when he was feeling a bit rough," BBC reporter Johnathan I'Anson said. "It was a source of solace in the low times".

Unknown to Beaton, an effort to recover the lost message was underway. A team of engineers worked for three days to recover the erased file. They did.

L'Anson was there to record when Beaton was told that his wife's voice hadn't been lost, and he recorded Beaton's reaction when the voice of Ruby Beaton sounded again.

"That's her!" the Yorkshire widower shouted. "Just a wonderful, wonderful sound."

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