A SIX-YEAR-OLD girl was reunited with her beloved cuddly monkey that helps her overcome severe shyness after a community rallied round to help find the missing toy.

Zoe Storey was so heartbroken after losing George the monkey during a Good Friday visit to Barnard Castle that parents, Sarah and David, launched a poster campaign in the town and appealed to The Northern Echo for help in tracing him.

They received a phone call yesterday evening (Tuesday) from a family in Barnard Castle whose daughter found George on a wall and brought him home for safe-keeping.

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After seeing a poster in a shop window, they contacted the Storeys.

The family, from Sherburn Hill, near Durham City, returned to Barnard Castle last night (Tuesday) to pick up the cuddly toy, which Zoe has used as a comforter for four years to help with her shyness.

Mrs Storey thanked the family who found George and said: “Zoe was over the moon, she couldn’t believe it was him. She was quite hyper.

“We had told her we might not get George back but she thinks he has been on a little adventure.

“We thought it was a long shot trying to find him, but it paid off in the end.”

Mrs Storey said the family had been overwhelmed with messages of support from well-wishers offering to help find George.

Their story was shared dozens of times by Internet users on social media networks.

She added: “We have had some lovely messages and we are just so pleased that there are people out there who are nice enough to offer to help us.”

Mayor of Barnard Castle, Frank Harrison, praised the community for the support offered to the family as they searched for the missing toy.

“The people in the town are quite good at doing things like that," he said.

“I would like to thank the people who found it for being honest and making a little girl very happy, they deserve a lot of credit.”