TWO honest nine yearold girls from Llanhilleth who found £500 in a park were rewarded by the man who lost it.

John O’ Connell, of Pant Ddu Road, Aberbeeg, was in Llanhilleth Park with his grandaughter when an envelope containing £500 in cash fell out of his coat pocket on Thursday afternoon.

Mr O’Connell, 60, said: “I took the money out of the bank to pay for our holiday in Torquay as we were leaving the next day and put it safely in a zip pocket in my coat.

“I took my granddaughter Cassie Taylor, six, to the park but we left in a hurry when it started to rain.

“When I got home the first thing I did was check my pocket and was heartbroken to find it was missing.”

Friends Alysha Beacham and Josie Young discovered the cash and a receipt while playing in the park after lessons finished at St Illtyd’s Primary School, Llanhilleth, and took it straight to Alysha’s mum Clair Beacham, 37.

Alysha said: “We looked inside the envelope and saw the money.

“We thought it would be £50 but started counting it.

We realised it was a lot of money that someone must have dropped.”

Mrs Beacham contacted Gwent Police and arranged to return it to the bank the following morning.

She called in to Kelly’s Corner Shop, Meadow Street, on Friday to see if anyone knew about it. The shop workers knew who it belonged to and contacted Mr O’Connell.

Mr O’Connell, who gave the girls’ £25 each as a reward, said: “I never expected to see the money again.

“When I found out the girls had handed it in I was very emotional and can’t thank them enough.”

At a special assembly held in honour of the girls on Wednesday, Mrs Beacham and Josie’s mum Lindsey Quantick, 32, said they were so proud of their daughters.

“They knew that handing it in was the right and honest thing to do.”

Head teacher Nigel Roberts said: “I am extremely proud of these two young ladies. They are a real credit to the school, to the community of Llanhilleth, and to their families.”

Gwent Police CSO Kay Moseley said the girls’ actions inspired the community, and attracted more than 400 ‘likes’ on the force’s Facebook page.

COMMENT: Girls were wonderful

THE story we are carrying today about two young girls from Llanhilleth who found £500 in a park, proves to us what we have often argued.

And that is, that most of our young people are good and honest.

Alysha Beacham and Josie Young were playing in a park near their home when they discovered an envelope containing money.

They took the find straight home where they realised that they had discovered a significant amount of cash.

And luckily for John O’Connell, who had lost the money earlier that day, the girls’ first thought was to call the police and immediately try to track down the money’s rightful owner.

This is a heartwarming story and one which restores faith in human nature and which also reinforces our belief in our young people.

Alysha and Josie deserve all the praise they have had from Mr O’Connell, who had not expected to see his money again, and from their school and local police.

But their story exemplifies for us the fact that for every youngster who causes problems, there are hundreds, if not thousands whose behaviour is exemplary.

But all too often young people get unfairly tarred with the same brush.

We are delighted to be able to report such a positive story and send both girls a big ‘well done’ from us.