A Great Broughton man was left amazed after a lockdown loft find at his house.

Tom Alston, who lives in Main Street, had decided to clear out a few items after the death of his wife Sheila Alston, who died on March 30 aged 70.

He said he looked in a lift-up top desk and discovered a piece of coal, wrapped up in a letter which read: "This piece of coal was dug or picked by George Rigg at Buckhill Pit during the great strike of 1926. 24 May 1926."

The item was perfectly preserved and had not faded, as it had been shielded from sunlight in the desk.

He said that the coal had belonged to Sheila's great grandfather, Alderman Robert Rigg, who moved from County Durham to Cumbria to work at the mine in Great Broughton between 1908 to 1911.

Sheila's family had initially moved to Brigham, then moved to six cottages in Main Street. He said: "That piece of coal will have been there since then, it’s all part of this house now, this was six cottages, four are now part of one house and the other is a garage and store.

"It was found in number 33 Main Street in the loft, in the house that Sheila's mam and dad lived at."

He thinks it is likely that Alderman Rigg wrote the note that was wrapped around the piece of coal, because he worked at Buckhill Pit as a weighman in 1926.

During the strike at Buckhill pit (known locally as The Dump) Robert may well have allowed his son George Rigg to come in with him and pick or dug a piece of coal to keep.

Mr Alston said: "My wife has lived here all her life and she was 70, her grandfather came from Durham in 1908 and her father and grandfather occupied this house from then."

Mr Alston would like to find a museum, with an interest in mining, as a home for the object, where people can view and appreciate the social history of the piece.

He said: "If there was somewhere for it to go like a museum or something that’s the best place for it. Somewhere it could be displayed I would be very happy with that. It’s a piece of history from this village and when I put a post on Facebook it’s been phenomenal."

Feedback included many saying it is a fantastic find and a lovely piece of history. He added: "I think it’s something that’s picked people’s spirits up."

If a museum or interested party could display the item and would like to get in touch with Mr Alston, they can contact him by email at: tom.alston@virgin.net

Other finds in the loft include an unemployment stamp and a penny that was so worn he had to get a magnifying glass out to find it's a penny dating to 1900.