A HOARD of silver found in a carrier bag by an Ashbourne man, has been auctioned off to help life-saving charities.
Gardener Chris Allen, of Manor Road, decided to clear rubbish dumped near his allotment at Clifton and unearthed a hoard of 200-year-old silver back in March.
Now, the Georgian cutlery has been auctioned off and, with donations from friends, allowed Mr Allen and his wife, Noreen, to make donations of £400 to Derbyshire, leicestershire and Rutland Air Ambulance and Aberdyfi Lifeboat station in Wales.
Mr Allen handed the collection, which included a 48-piece dinner service of dessert spoons, dessert forks, table forks, and serving spoons, as well as grape scissors, a mustard spoon a pearlhandled button hook and solid silver shoe horn, in to police as lost property, but it went unclaimed.
After an appeal in the News Telegraph and an investigation of his own to track the owners of the silver, Mr Allen has had the collection auctioned off.
He said: “As I picked up one of the bags the bottom fell out and what I had assumed to be a bag full of rubbish turned out to be a carrier bag full of Georgian silver.
“I was of course amazed to think that these beautiful pieces of silver had been lying forgotten in a field and I took them all immediately to the police station.
“It was the summer we had in March and I was working in the field and there was just polystyrene and chip wrappers lying about.
“I thought while it was nice it’s a shame for it to make a mess, so I thought I’ll just tidy the place up a little bit.
“I picked up this carrier bag and it burst and all this silver fell out. Once I’d got the snails off it I took a sample of it down to the police station.
“The bag contained pieces of really good quality silver, including items from a 48-piece dinner service, a soup ladle dated 1805 and teaspoons dated 1795.
“I was sure that someone would have reported these items either lost or stolen and would be delighted to receive them back again.
“However, no one came forward to claim the silver and after a time the police handed everything back to me.
“I carried on making inquiries on the internet and on our local radio and in the News Telegraph, but still no one seemed to know anything about the silver.
“I decided then to do something worthwhile with my find and took the whole lot of silver to be auctioned at our local auctioneers Fiddler and Taylor who were so impressed with my story that they did not charge any commission.
“The items were sold off to collectors in different lots and the silver eventually made £530 at auction.
“With various donations we have now made the sum up to £800.
“My wife Noreen and I love coming to Aberdyfi on holiday so we decided to donate half the amount, £400, to Aberdyfi Lifeboat Station and the other £400 to our home air ambulance of Derbyshire, Leicestershire and Rutland.
“We are very pleased that this unexpected find will benefit some very worthwhile causes and we would also like to thank everyone who made a donation in particular Jules and Will Moeran from Cartref, where we stay when we come to Aberdyfi, who donated the cost of our stay towards the final amount raised.” Dave Williams, operations manager of Aberdyfi Lifeboat Station, said: “We are always delighted to receive donations but are especially pleased that Chris and Noreen Allen wanted to give something to Aberdyfi Lifeboat Station with the proceeds from this very unexpected find and we are very grateful to them.”