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Woodbridge: Friends find celebrity in online mystery

10:00 12 February 2013

Catriona Bowman and Emily Fazah

Catriona Bowman and Emily Fazah

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WHEN Suffolk students Emily Fazah and Catriona Bowman lost a memory card containing hundreds of holiday snaps, they held out little hope of ever retrieving their precious travel memories.

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Little did the friends know they had become the subject of an international online campaign to help solve a mystery and reunite them with the mislaid photographs six months later.

Emily and her old friend from Farlingaye High School, in Woodbridge, were stunned to learn that the memory card had been found, miles from where it was lost in Amsterdam, and that internet users across the world had helped trace it back to them.

The search began a week ago when Peter van Leeuwen, creative business partner at Dutch advertising agency Etcetera, found the SD-card at the baggage belt of Schiphol Airport.

Returning to the office, he noticed hundreds of private and holiday pictures and decided to start an online search, carefully selecting pictures featuring Catriona and compiling them for a video called “Who’s that girl?”, which has since been seen almost 35,000 times on YouTube.

Even the Dutch media got involved but there was no sign of the owners until a they were staying with in Amsterdam called to tell them of their accidental fame.

Emily, 23, and now studying at Leeds University, said: “We don’t know how the memory card got to the airport. I had been changing it for an empty card in a bar in Amsterdam and must have left it there. We went back on more than one occasion but eventually gave up hope.

“That was last summer - but then I got a call saying there was a big campaign launched to find us. I couldn’t believe it.”

Catriona, who is currently in France during snowboard season, was immediately interviewed on a Dutch radio show, where she said: “I am ecstatic, in shock. Not only the card is back now, but I am now on national radio and YouTube, I had no clue everybody was searching for me.”

Mr Van Leeuwen, who found the card, said: “It’s amazing how fast news travels on Facebook. It’s really the new lost and found. “That’s why I decided to put it on Facebook and YouTube instead of bringing the card to the lost and found-department of Schiphol Airport.”

Emily will be meeting up with Catriona again in Montpelier this summer but has vowed to keep a closer eye on her memory cards.

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