The wedding, the stabbing and the reunion: How a Leeds family rediscovered sentimental missing photographs 35 years on through Facebook

A Leeds family have told the incredible story of how they were reunited with wedding pictures they believed had been lost forever - 35 YEARS later.

Karen Williams, 55, was at the evening reception of her cousin Tracey Hepworth and groom Mick Hepworth at the Griffin Hotel on Boar Lane on July 6th, 1985 when two assailants broke in and stole her handbag - containing all of the wedding photographs she had taken on the day.

In a fight which then ensued outside, her father John Warren was stabbed as the wedding party attempted to confront the robbers.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

The family were left completely devastated after realising the wedding photographs were gone and had given up all hope of seeing them again.

The family alongside rediscovered photographs

However, in an unbelievable turn of events, almost 35 years later - a discovery was made which would ultimately see the family reunited with the long lost snaps.

Karen explained what happened at the wedding party to the Yorkshire Evening Post.

She said: "We were all just up dancing.

"When we went to sit back down, my bag was missing.

The bridge and groom Mick and Tracey Hepworth

"We saw the two men running out and my auntie ran after them shouting 'it is them lads'!"

Karen said members of the wedding party tracked the assailants to Jacomellis pub in Leeds - however bouncers stopped them entering.

After waiting outside for the inevitable escape attempt, Karen said her dad was stabbed in a confrontation which ensued as the men desperately tried to get away.

She said: "A huge fight broke out.

Angie McHale, Christine Hinchcliffe, Karen Williams, Marjorie Warren

"My dad got stabbed.

"The lads ran off and must have gone up and around the corner, we just lost sight of them.

"Some girls told my brother not to chase after them and they ended up getting away."

For Karen and her sister Christine Hinchcliffe, 53, the thought of losing the photographs was devastating.

Christine Hinchcliffe, Eric Ward, Marjorie Warren

Karen's camera had been in the bag which was stolen.

She added: "The camera and film were in my handbag.

"As far as we were concerned, the pictures had gone, never to be seen again."

Almost 35 years passed and the family had all but given up hope of discovering the photographs again.

However a woman named Angie McHale from Leeds was clearing out her home ready to move properties.

Little did she know, a Facebook post would change the fortunes of the Leeds family.

John Warren

Angie explained: "In 1985, I was walking Domestic Street in Leeds when I spotted the handles of a hand bag.

"The bag was empty but on the floor, there was a roll of film.

"I decided to take the film to be developed at the chemist and discover what was on the photographs."

Angie took the photographs on her next trip to develop the snaps and originally thought she had made a mistake when they were returned - forgetting she had even picked the roll up to include.

She added: "The film must have just fallen out of the camera.

"I thought I had got the wrong photographs before realising I had added the roll I found.

"I was only 22 years old at the time.

"When I got them developed, I put a piece in the Yorkshire Evening Post but nobody came forward.

"There was no internet then, I just didn't know how I would find out who was in the pictures."

Angie spent the next 35 years moving home four times - taking the anonymous photographs with her in each house move.

However, in January 2020 - while preparing for her latest move - Angie had the idea to post the photographs on a local Facebook forum.

She explained: "Every year, more and more photographs were thrown into the box.

"I came across them again after having a clear out ready to move and thought I could try one last time to find the people involved.

"I vowed to find them."

Angie took photographs of the 17 snaps and posted them on Leeds Memories - a retro Facebook group.

Within hours, her post was the talk of the local Beeston community where the family lived.

Christine explained: "Somebody I know messaged me and said 'I think I have spotted you on some old photographs!'

"Everyone locally had shared it, there were 400 or 500 comments when I saw the post.

"I got asked 'have you seen this?!'

"I couldn't believe it, the photographs posted on Facebook were the missing ones from 1985.

"Our family were absolutely amazed."

Christine and Karen reached out to Angie, who told them to give her the address to reunite them with the photographs.

When Angie turned up at the family's house in Leeds, Karen and Marjorie Warren, Karen and Christine's mum, were waiting there with flowers.

They have now become friends - keeping in touch ever since the incredible reunion.

Angie said: "We have kept in touch ever since.

"I would have never thrown the photographs away, I just never thought I would find them.

"To put faces to the old photographs is incredible.

"They are my new friends."

The photographs include many sentimental memories for the family - including people who they have since lost.

Christine said: "The family are so thankful for getting the photographs back.

"We never thought it would happen.

"We can't thank Angie enough."

The bride and groom remain married to this day.

Karen Williams on the wedding day and in 2020
Tracey and Mick Hepworth
Marjorie Warren in 1985 and 2020