A pensioner has finally completed a seven year project to build a 5,000 piece jigsaw – after a games firm agreed to make his one missing piece.
Delighted Jack Harris, 86, was able to fit the final piece into the huge puzzle after its manufacturer took pity on him and provided the missing part.
Jack started the gruelling puzzle in 2002 when he received it as a Christmas gift from his daughter-in-law Eve.
He then spent seven-and-a-half years working on the jigsaw – only to find there was one piece missing.
But Falcon Games LTD, the puzzle’s manufacturer, has now come to his rescue by having a replacement piece sent to his home.
The puzzle is no longer made but the firm agreed to find the original design and make the one missing piece.
Speaking after the piece was delivered to his home in Shepton Mallet, Somerset, by courier, he said: ”I was delighted to be able to finish the puzzle at last after all. 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.”
The monster jigsaw depicts James Tissot’s painting called ‘The Return of the Prodigal Son’ and had hoped to finish it this year.
He spent hours a day on the 5ft puzzle which dominated his dining table for more than seven years as he strived to complete it.
But when he finally began putting the final parts together he was dismayed to find that he had only 4,999 pieces – with one tiny hole in the middle.
Eve, who is married to Jack’s son Trevor, said it was a ”joyous” moment for the family to finally see the monster jigsaw completed.
She said: ”Jack is very proud of the finished jigsaw. He is now either going to have it framed or we’ll varnish it for him and put it on the side of the house.”
Jack, a retired businessman, believes the original piece may have been thrown away by mistake or eaten by one of Eve’s two dogs.
Gray (corr) Richmond, managing director at Jumbo Games, which manufactures the Falcon range, said they had also sent Jack some new jigsaws.
He said: ”It is a real challenge to complete a 5,000 piece puzzle. 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 jigsaw is no longer produced, we had the piece individually made by our expert puzzle designers.
”We are also sending Mr Harris a load of new puzzles from the range – although at 1,000 pieces some of these are slightly smaller.”