A COUPLE have been reunited with pictures from a camera they dropped overboard on an Atlantic cruise, thanks to an Oxfordshire woman.

South Africans Barbara and Dennis Gregory were en route from New York to Southampton on the Queen Mary 2 in 2008 when they dropped their camera in the ocean.

But 16 months later Spanish fisherman Benito Estevez found the camera in his nets with the photos still on the memory card.

Mr Estevez posted the pictures online and they were shown on the BBC TV show South Today, where they were spotted by Laura De Klein, from Chalgrove.

Miss De Klein immediately realised the pictures were of her friends, and rang the Gregorys in South Africa to tell them.

She said: “It’s all so incredible – it just shows what a small world it is. I was astounded when I saw the pictures on the news report –I recognised the Greg- orys straight away.

“When I rang them to say their camera had been found they just couldn’t believe it, none of us could. They were totally thrilled.”

One of the pictures shows Mrs Gregory posing on the deck of the Queen Mary 2 with the now out-of-service QE2 in the background, while in another her husband is wearing a woolly hat from Oxford.

Mrs Gregory, 53, said: “I remember the camera getting lost. We were about a day out from Southampton sitting on deck when somebody shouted out there were dolphins.

“We jumped up and rushed to the side and it happened – Dennis didn’t have the camera strapped round his neck and it slipped out of his hands.

“It literally bounced off his lap, across the deck and into the water with hardly a splash and it was gone.

“We had bought it from Macey’s in New York for $300 because Dennis had broken the previous camera.

“We were devastated. We’d lost every photograph from New York. It had all our holiday snaps on it.

“I never expected it to see the light of day again – let alone see any photos from it – I’m completely overwhelmed.

“To think the Spanish fishermen has gone to such efforts on this – it’s very touching.

“There’s no way we could ever have imagined that this thing would ever turn up again. It sank to the bottom of the Atlantic.”

Miss De Klein added: “It’s incredible – so many people across the world have been involved in this, from Spain to Britain and South Africa.

“There have been people posting about it on forums in Australia and other countries too – it’s truly amazing.”