Wedding photos lost in quake found

23:59, Oct 18 2012
Martin Burley
HAPPY TIMES: Martin Burley and his wife Fen Jeremias on their wedding day. This was one of many photos recovered after they found their camera, 18 months after it got lost.

Eighteen months after a Christchurch couple's camera with their wedding photos was washed away in silt, they stumbled across it poking out of their driveway.

Martin Burley found the camera on Wednesday night. It was lost in the February 2011 earthquake, an hour after Burley and his wife returned from their honeymoon.

"You could just see the outline and I thought, 'What is that?' Then I looked closer and it was the camera," he said.

CAMERA OBSCURED: The camera Martin Burley dug up from his driveway.
CAMERA OBSCURED: The remains of Martin Burley's camera, which was found after being lost in quake silt after the February 22 quake.

After he and fiancee Fen Jeremias were married on February 20 last year, they left for a two-day honeymoon at Governors Bay.

The day they returned to their Ferrymead home, their life was turned upside down by the quake.

In the rush to evacuate their badly damaged home, Burley lost the camera containing more than six months of photos, including those of the couple's wedding ceremony and honeymoon.

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PRECIOUS MEMORY: Martin Burley shows off the memory card containing his wedding photos lost after the February 22 quake.

"We didn't actually notice we lost the camera at the time, but a day or two later we were looking for it and couldn't find it," he said.

Their driveway had been waist-high in silt, and they thought the camera had been washed away.

Although the couple were "gutted" by the loss, they moved on.

camera
camera

"We kind of just accepted it," Burley said.

"We said, 'OK, there's nothing we can do about it'. We just put it out of our minds and carried on."

He was overjoyed when he stumbled across the camera embedded in his driveway this week.

"I thought even though it was dead as a camera, maybe I can get the memory card out of it," he said.

Once the memory card was plugged into his computer, it took only two attempts and a bit of tinkering before all 2.5 gigabytes of photos were recovered.

Burley believed the camera fell out of a hole in one of the bags the couple had been using to save items after the quake.

He said the recent bad weather in Christchurch must have "churned the driveway up" and brought the camera to the top of the gravel.

"I really didn't expect to find it there at all. Everyone's pretty amazed," he said.

The Press