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Bowled over by auction discovery

PUBLISHED: 17:35 23 January 2009 | UPDATED: 12:50 03 July 2010

BOWLING BACK: John Symonds, Caister Bowls Club committee member and Norman Beck

BOWLING BACK: John Symonds, Caister Bowls Club committee member and Norman Beck

Miles Jermy

THINGS often turn up in the most unexpected places, but imagine Norman Beck's surprise to discover an old trophy amid a box of books bought at auction.

THINGS often turn up in the most unexpected places, but imagine Norman Beck's surprise to discover an old trophy amid a box of books bought at auction.

This week Mr Beck returned the long-lost piece of silverware to Caister Bowls Club more than 40 years after it disappeared.

No one at the club was even aware of the existence of the silver plate shield, first won way back in 1962 by a Mr AT Thurlow.

It dates from the time when the club was based at the Lord Nelson pub on the corner of Beach Road and Lacon Road.

The club moved to its present home at the village playing field in 1968 and the pub was demolished in the 1970s.

The shield was not even listed among the lot of local history books that Mr Beck, a keen bowls player, successfully bid for at the auction in Aylsham last year.

He said: “The shield was at the bottom of the box under a sheet of old wallpaper and I couldn't believe it had just been left in there.

“When I saw shield used to belong to Caister Bowls Club I decided it would be a nice gesture to return it after all these years.

“The shield was presented between 1962 and 1966 and after that it obviously went missing and had been forgotten about after all these years. The club were absolutely over the moon that I discovered this long-lost piece of history.

“I regularly go to auctions to collect sporting memorabilia, so discovering this was a bit of a coincidence, especially as I play bowls.”

Mr Beck, from Blofield Heath, had to delay returning the trophy as he has been battling bowel cancer for the last 15 months.

He was well enough to present the shield to committee member John Symonds at the bowls club on Wednesday.

A former warehouse supervisor for Frans Maas in Great Yarmouth, Mr Beck, 68, had to give up his job after contracting cancer and has now retired.

For many years Mr Beck played for Filby Bowls Club and is now a member of Blofield Heath Bowls Club. Also a familiar figure on the local football scene, he was a referee in the Great Yarmouth and District League for 15 years.

Mr Symonds, who is the only current member to belong to the old Nelson Bowls Club, said: “It was a very generous gesture by Mr Beck to return the shield to the club.

“I wasn't aware it existed but I knew the winners - Jocky Thurlow was a bricklayer who also played football for Caister.

“We are looking for the last slice of funding for our new pavilion and the shield will be given in pride of place there when it opens.”


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