Howzat! Vicar Simon Ward to finally get ball back he lost at Belton Rectory 40 years ago
- Credit: Bill Richmond
An early Victorian bathing pond is giving up its secrets - as well as a cricket ball lost by the current Rector of Great Yarmouth 40 years ago.
A determined band of volunteers was joined by an industrial digger on Saturday as they attempted to reclaim the pool from the clutches of Mother Nature.
Overgrown and completely 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.
She said it had been a successful day which resulted in the clay floor being exposed for the first time in probably 80 years.
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'It was very productive. We moved an awful lot of muck and it was nice to get all the way round the site,' she said.
As well as finding the sluice gate, another gate, digging out the steps, and finding a small channel hidden for years the working party happened upon a cricket ball lost by a seven-year-old Simon Ward.
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Years ago the current Yarmouth rector was living at the Rectory when he lost the brand new plaything - a misfortune that Mrs Phillips said was well-remembered to this day.
'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.
'We have now found the clay bottom so we can now get to the middle by hand. The smell was horrendous and there was water underneath which we did not expect.
'The digger driver was brilliant and there were six trees inside the pond wall which was further back than we first thought.
'It's a good project, but there is a lot of work still to do.'
Another working party is planned with the help of plant hire firm Munnings who removed an estimated 300 tons of silt and dead trees.
At this stage the aim is to open up to wildlife rather than people and to get it listed. Although some people remember it in pristine condition no photographs have as yet emerged.