Hatfield games firm completes pensioner’s prodigal jigsaw puzzle

A PUZZLE-loving pensioner is dancing a jig after a Hatfield games firm helped him complete a seven-year project to build a 5,000 piece jigsaw.

Jack Harris, 86, was last week dismayed to find the 5,000th piece of his 5ft-wide puzzle missing – possibly swallowed by one of his dogs.

But now Mr Harris has piece at last after Jumbo Games, manufacturer of the Falcon range, based at Hatfield House, agreed to make his one missing piece.

Gray Richmond, managing director of Jumbo Games, told the Welwyn Hatfield Times the puzzle, based on James Tissot’s 1862 painting Return of the Prodigal Son, was no longer made.

He said: “It is a real challenge to complete a 5,000 piece puzzle.

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“It requires a great deal of dedication and is a fantastic achievement that Mr Harris has finished the jigsaw after seven years.

“When we heard that one piece was missing we wanted to do all we could to help put in place the final piece of the puzzle. As this Falcon jigsaw is no longer produced, we had the piece individually made by our expert puzzle designers.”

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Mr Harris, of Somerset, started the puzzle in 2002 when it was bought for him as a Christmas gift by his daughter-in-law Eve, married to his son Trevor.

He was initially helped by Doris, his wife, before she died in February 2004 leaving him to complete the task on his own.

Upon receiving the single segment, made and couriered to his home, a gleeful Mr Harris beamed: “I was delighted to be able to finish the puzzle at last.

“It was such a disappointment that there was one piece missing.

“The manufacturer has been very kind in supplying the final piece and it was a joyous moment for all of us.”

Mr Richmond cheerfully added: “We are sending Mr Harris a load of new puzzles from the range – although at 1,000 pieces some of these are slightly smaller!”

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