A woman who has been panning for gold in Britain since she was a toddler has turned her precious nuggets and flakes into a wedding ring.
Daisy Thurkettle-Roper, 25, has been prospecting in the UK’s rivers since she could stand and has been stashing her gold away for a special occasion.
Now she has used her treasure collected from river beds across the country to create unique wedding bands for herself and new husband Martyn Roper, 28.
“I’ve panned for gold ever since I was about three years old and could stand in the shallows and not get blown over,” said Daisy, from Leeds.
“I’ve kept all the gold I have ever found and there seemed to be nothing more perfect and romantic than using it for our wedding rings.”
Daisy, a Phd student at Leeds University, has spent years exploring the rivers of Scotland and Wales with her dad Vince Thurkettle.
As a toddler she would wade into the river with the water lapping around the top of her boots.
But her hours were well spent and after 20 years she amassed a small fortune.
“I have been gold panning most of my life and it is such good fun,” she said.
“There is a point I always remember when your back is aching and you have been in the river for five hours and you are covered in mosquito bites.
“Then you get to the bottom of the pan and see a flake of gold and it gleams and sparkles and you soon forget you are cold and wet.”
Daisy collected the final flakes for the wedding bands together with husband Martyn during a trip to Wales.
“My husband had never prospected before and it was really romantic to be able to spend the weekend looking for the gold for our wedding rings together,” she said.
“We were searching in the River Wenn near Dolgellau and it was really picturesque with lots of mossy over-hangings.
“It was hard work and back-breaking as you have to dig enormous holes, but it was worth it.
“To go to a beautiful river and hunt together for our gold was amazing and I could not have imagined a more perfect preparation for the ceremony.”
Daisy’s gold collection was then taken to a jeweller, who crafted it into two special wedding rings worth £600 each.
“We were able to help melt down the gold, make the rings and polish them,” added Daisy, who got married in Scotland.
“It’s absolutely amazing to think we found the tiny flakes of gold in bits of dirt and now they have all been put together into rings which fit our fingers perfectly.
“It was a wonderful idea and will make our wedding day special for us forever.”
The UK’s last gold rush was in Kidonnan in Scotland in 1869 when a gold-panner struck lucky in the River Helmsdale.
Within months hundreds of hopefuls had descended on the normally deserted Scottish Glen.
But the prospectors left within three years and nowadays most people don’t realise there is gold to be found in Britain.
“Lots of people don’t know Britain has its own gold and has had gold rushes,” said Daisy, who organised gold-panning for her wedding guests.
“But there is nothing more satisfying than seeing your little bottle slowly fill up with flakes of gold, everyone should give it a try.”