The man who wrote the EastEnders theme tune has bought back his own handwritten manuscript after parting ways with it 21 years ago.
Simon May donated the theme’s musical score to charity in 1999 but forgot he had done so, believing it had been misplaced.
The 75-year-old was contacted by a Derbyshire auction firm when it resurfaced during a house clearance.
Mr May then went head-to-head with soap fans to buy the music for £460.
The auction lot included the sheet music for E8 – as it was originally titled – along with a letter of authenticity written by Mr May, and was advertised with an estimate of between £70 and £100.
Mr May, from Guildford in Surrey, said: “It was really exciting to bid at auction. I’d never done it before. I booked a phone line to ensure I didn’t miss out.
“I’m surprised the price went so high but I suppose there are a lot of EastEnders fans out there.
“I’m really pleased to get it back. It was an important extract from the E8 musical manuscript.
“Now it can be returned to my family archives. I’d realised it was missing but I thought I’d lost it. It’s part of my family history.”
His music has accompanied every episode of the BBC soap since it first aired on 19 February 1985.
Auction house owner Charles Hanson, said: “The musical extract arrived in our saleroom after we were asked to clear a Surrey home of objects and ephemera gathered over many years.
“The seller was absolutely delighted to hear the music had gone back to Simon.”