A pensioner who spent seven-and-a-half years working on a 5000-part jigsaw finally completed the puzzle only to find there was ONE piece missing.
Dedicated Jack Harris, 86, started the gruelling puzzle in 2002 when it was bought for him as a Christmas gift by his daughter-in-law Eve.
He began work on monster jigsaw, which depicts James Tissot’s ‘The Return of the Prodigal Son’, with the intention of completing it by the summer.
But Jack struggled with the 5ft puzzle and the mass of pieces dominated his dining table for more than seven years as he strived to complete it.
When he finally began putting the final parts together he was dismayed to find that he had only 4999 pieces with one tiny hole in the middle.
Eve, who is married to Jack’s son Trevor, said jack was “so disappointed” when he found there was one piece missing.
She said: “We got him this one as a bit of a joke really, because he always boasted he could get them done so quickly, he’s a bit of a whiz with them.
“There was so much to do. We’d all have a go at it each time we went over there, but it seemed to just take forever.
“It was marvellous to see it finally completed. But when we saw there was a piece missing from the middle, we just couldn’t believe it.
“He was just so disappointed when he found one bit was missing. It’s sad really because now it will never be completed.”
Jack a retired businessman from Shepton Mallet in Somerset, has a new jigsaw given to him every year by his family but had been particularly stumped by this one.
He was initially helped by his wife Doris but she died in February 2004 leaving him to complete the task on his own.
Jack said: “I always said I could get the puzzles done by the end of March so I could get out into the garden, but this one took a bit longer.”
The whereabouts of the missing piece is a mystery, but the family believe it may have been thrown away by mistake or eaten by one of Eve’s two dogs.
A spokesman for Falcon Games LTD, the puzzle’s manufacturer, said they had stopped making that particular jigsaw and it would therefore be impossible for them to provide the final piece.