Reward doubled for safe return of Irish Club ring
A TOOWOOMBA publican has doubled the reward for the return of a pub game that entertained generations at a popular watering hole.
Ten pints of Guinness are on offer in a desperate appeal for the safe return of the ring on a string, a famed institution that once hung proudly at the Irish Club Hotel.
Publican Cameron Mayes installed the beloved game when he bought the Russell St pub 16 years ago.
His shock at the callous theft gave way to gratitude for the influx of support that flooded in since the crime was discovered on Saturday morning.
A groundswell of grief followed a public appeal for information on the lost ring but an offer of five pints of Guinness failed to see its imminent return.
Mr Mayes doubled the reward in the hope his pub and ring can be reunited.
"The staff feel like they've lost a family member," a dismayed Mr Mayes said.
"It's been around since day dot.
"It's just a game that everyone knows about."
The ring on a string game has been a fixture at the pub since the Mayes family bought it in September, 2001.
While basic in its concept, the toss game kept pub punters amused and entertained for hours, with the entire establishment getting behind anyone who manages to successfully get it on a horse shoe fixed to the wall.
The record stands at 13 successful tosses and unless the ring is returned, it will never be beaten.
"Now it's just a string left hanging there looking lost and lonely," Mr Mayes said.
In what Mr Mayes hoped would be only a temporary replacement, a different ring was attached to the string early yesterday morning but was a poor substitute for the real thing.
Mr Mayes said, "it just isn't the same".
He likened the theft to the Great Sausage King Theft which rocked Toowoomba in 2009 when the icon of snag supremacy was stolen from atop Mark Nolan's Gray's Modern Meat Mart.
The king was later found bruised and dumped in an abandoned quarry.
The crime was never solved.
The pub ring theft struck a chord with many a punter with news shared by thousands on social media adding to Ms Mayes' call for the ring's return.
Mr Mayes said some of his regular customers had also offered a financial reward.
One social media user who suggested the only way the theft would be acceptable was if it had been "taken for a drunken impromptu marriage proposal".
However, the suggestion was rejected by others.
"No it wouldn't," one mourner wrote on the Irish Club Hotel's Facebook page.
"Only if the proposal was made trying to land the ring on the finger from 10-feet away," came another reply.
The crime was discovered on Saturday morning by cleaners at the pub, and the story since went viral.