London, May 17 (ANI): An 86-year-old man, who spent seven and a half years solving a massive jigsaw, has expressed his dismay at finding a piece of the puzzle missing.
Jack Harris, who turned his house upside down looking for the missing piece, fears that it has been eaten by one of his family's dogs.
And the time he took to do the puzzle has left him unable to buy a replacement as the manufacturers have stopped making it.
The 5,000-piece puzzle had been a Christmas gift from his daughter-in-law Eve, and he had started doing the jigsaw in 2002, saying confidently that he would complete it by the following summer.
But the five-foot square monster, showing James Tissot's 'The Return of the Prodigal Son', turned out to be a challenge for Harris, who struggled to fit in the pieces.
The pieces dominated his dining table in Shepton Mallet, Somerset for more than seven years as he strived to complete it, and when he finally began putting the last pieces together he was dismayed to find he had only 4,999 and a tiny hole in the middle.
His daughter-in-law Eve, who is married to his son Trevor, said he was "so disappointed" when he found there was one piece missing.
"We got him this one as a bit of a joke really because he always boasted he could get them done so quickly," the Sun quoted her as saying.
"He's a bit of a whiz with them but there was so much to do with this. We'd all have a go at it each time we went to see him 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," she said.
Retired businessman Harris would get a new jigsaw from his family each year and his wife Doris helped do them with him.
But she died in February 2004, leaving him to complete the marathon task on his own.
"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," Harris said.
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 manufacturer Falcon Games said they had stopped making that particular jigsaw and it would therefore be impossible for them to provide the final piece. (ANI)