Care home residents in Wrexham find 'buried treasure' after taking up metal detecting


Staff reporter (Leader Live)

A care home resident has discovered a Civil War musket shot and other “buried treasure” after taking up metal detecting.

Gary Cobb, 52,  a resident of Bodlondeb, Pendine Park's specialist dementia centre of excellence in Wrexham, was introduced to the hobby by senior care practitioner Lee Swallow.

The intrepid treasure hunters regularly scour tthe grounds of the care organisation’s 86-acre site in Summerhill Road.

Senior care practitioner Lee Swallow at Bodlonden, Pendine Park, with resident Gary Cobb

As a result, they have turned up a large collection of old coins, watches, jewellery items and even a musket shot which dates back to the time of the Civil War.

Lee, who has worked at Bodlondeb for seven years, took up metal detecting as a hobby in 2004 and thought he’d introduce Gary to the joys of searching for lost coins and other items within the extensive grounds of the Pendine Park site.

He said: “We have permission from Pendine Park proprietors Gill and Mario Kreft to search the grounds although we avoid landscaped areas. 

Resident John Kaye catalogues the finds

“I have two metal detectors and just thought it would be something Gary would enjoy.

“Another resident, John Kaye, who is 74, catalogues our finds and cleans up the coins as best as he can. 

“John, who has excellent long-term memory, likes to talk about the era the coins are from.

“John is a former teacher who taught history and likes to talk about the monarchs who were reigning and the prime ministers who were in office at the times of the dates on the coins.”

He added: “Gary gets a great deal from our metal detecting sessions and his dream is to find a gold sovereign or a Roman coin. Who knows, he might be lucky!

“We are also going to take a trip down to the beach and maybe a few other residents can come along too and watch what we do.

“To be honest, we have barely scratched the surface of the Pendine Park site and it will take years to search it all properly.

“At the Hillbury site across the other side of Wrexham, there is Bronze Age burial site which is a protected Ancient Monument – but we have permission to look at the land surrounding it.

“It’s amazing what we are turning up and Gary is becoming a real expert. 

“On his very first attempt he found some King George coins.

“We have also found a bracelet and a gold coloured ring stamped with a hallmark – but it’s false as it certainly isn’t gold.

“What we would like to do eventually is put on a display of all the items we find. I’m sure that would be really interesting to the rest of our residents.

“Personally I’d love to find something that could go on display in a museum. 

“I’m just glad Gary and John get so much pleasure out of metal detecting and the finds we make. 

“It has really given them an extra interest and it’s also excellent exercise for Gary and gets him outdoors.”

Gary has been a resident of Bodlondeb for more than two years and he says metal detecting with Lee has given him a new interest. 

“What I really want to find is a gold coin – now that really would be something special and magical,” he said.

“I like being outside and doing something interesting. There’s real excitement and anticipation when Lee and I are metal detecting together and we get to talk too.”

John Kaye says the finds Lee and Gary make are really interesting and quite fascinating.

He said: “They have found coins with the heads of different monarchs depicted on them and that’s wonderful.

“It’s good to try and think back how many people have held these coins and about how they become lost in the grounds of Pendine Park?

“I clean the coins as best as I can and catalogue them in date order. There are so many old coins that we don’t use any more such as three penny bits, and the big old pennies.

“And of course we should all remember that two ‘tanners’ (sixpences) made a ‘bob’ (shilling).”

See full story in the Leader

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