Rediscovered funds in Yarmouth donated to charity
- Credit: Supplied
Mayor Malcolm Bird's charity fundraising efforts have received a welcome boost from the past – after he rediscovered dozens of donated coins which had been lost for decades.
The loose change came to light when Cllr Bird used bolt-cutters to open the wooden historic Pauper Box, fixed to the wall in Great Yarmouth Town Hall, after learning that the padlock keys had been missing for some years.
The money totals about £35.
In addition to modern currency, the public collection box also contained several coins no longer in circulation, including old-size 5p, 10p and 50p pieces and 1 shilling and 2 shilling pieces, with the oldest coin being a 1p piece from 1919.
In keeping with the wishes of the original donors, Cllr Bird plans to give the money to the Great Yarmouth Foodbank, which puts together food parcels to tide over residents left in crisis due to an unexpected change in their financial situation.
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Local historian, David McDermott, has inspected the demonetised coinage.
He said although there is nothing particularly collectable among the pile, it might be possible to exchange some of it for modern currency at some banks, which Cllr Bird plans to do.
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Cllr Bird, who was elected last month to the historic position of mayor, said: 'It was really exciting to see the old padlocks cut away and the little lid lifted for the first time in years – just like opening a treasure chest.
'The fact the pauper box contained so many donated coins from across the decades stands as testament to the enduring generosity of the people of the Great Yarmouth borough. This money is a welcome boost to my charity fundraising efforts this year.
'There are now new locks on the box, the keys are safely stored, and I encourage anyone with a few spare pennies to continue putting them into this box, as it will now be checked and emptied routinely.'
The pauper box was installed in 1901 beside the entrance to what was then Great Yarmouth Magistrates' Court, which moved out in 1990.
In recent years, the room has been sensitively converted to become the Council Chamber.