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Howzat! Great Yarmouth vicar is bowled over by discovery of ball he lost four decades ago in Belton

PUBLISHED: 08:45 08 September 2017 | UPDATED: 08:45 08 September 2017

A digger works to excavate an early Victorian bathing pool at Belton Rectoy. Photo: Bill Richmond

A digger works to excavate an early Victorian bathing pool at Belton Rectoy. Photo: Bill Richmond

Bill Richmond

Please sir can I have my ball back?

Rev Simon Ward, the new team rector at Great Yarmouth Minster. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYRev Simon Ward, the new team rector at Great Yarmouth Minster. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

That is the age-old cry countless children have made to neighbours while playing in back gardens.

But now a vicar has been hit for six after a ball he thought he lost four decades ago has resurfaced in an old neighbour’s pond.

The recently installed team rector at Great Yarmouth Minster, Simon Ward, was delighted by the discovery, having lost a cricket ball as a child.

He lived at the village rectory as a child when his father, Canon Leslie, was rector at Belton and Burgh Castle, near Great Yarmouth.

The orginal rectory that burned down more than 80 years ago. The household enjoyed the use of a large, outdoor bath fed by a natural stream. Photo: supplied by Tracey PhillipsThe orginal rectory that burned down more than 80 years ago. The household enjoyed the use of a large, outdoor bath fed by a natural stream. Photo: supplied by Tracey Phillips

Mr Ward said he had jokingly asked the current rector the Rev Rosie Bunn to let him know if she ever found the ball in Belton.

He explained: “I was about eight-years-old and had saved up my pocket money to buy a real cricket ball.

“I don’t think we even got to the first over before it got hit into the undergrowth never to be seen again. I cried my eyes out.”

Mr Ward said there was a biblical precedent of lost things being found, like the Parable of the Lost Sheep or Lost Coins. He added: “Now we might be able to add the lost cricket ball.”

The cricket ball which was discovered. Picture: TRACEY PHILLIPSThe cricket ball which was discovered. Picture: TRACEY PHILLIPS

After visiting his former home, he said the restoration work was fantastic.

The ball was found in what is believed to be an early Victorian bathing pond.

A band of volunteers was joined by an industrial digger last weekend as they attempted to reclaim the pool from the clutches of Mother Nature.

Overgrown and choked by woodland it lies in the grounds of Belton Rectory and is thought to be a rare relic from a bygone age.

Tracey Phillips, who lives at the rectory, organised a working party on Saturday to help excavate the bulk of the debris.

It had been a successful day resulting in the clay floor being exposed for the first time in probably 80 years.

Mrs Phillips said she had heard about Mr Ward’s missing cricket ball, adding: “When we moved in he always said ‘I lost my brand new ball in the woodland somewhere’ and I have been looking for it since we moved in.

“Now we have found it we plan to give it back.

“He remembers all the walls of the pool being up so it has only been in the last 40 years they have fallen down. It also turns out to be bigger than we thought.”

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