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Rector of Great Yarmouth gets his long lost cricket ball back after 40 years

15 September 2017


Caught: the rectory Victorian bathing pond where the Revd Simon Ward’s cricket ball vanished nearly 40 years ago

Caught: the rectory Victorian bathing pond where the Revd Simon Ward’s cricket ball vanished nearly 40 years ago

A CRICKET ball, lost nearly 40 years ago by the Team Rector of Great Yarmouth, the Revd Simon Ward, when he was seven years old, has been found, and will shortly be presented to him.

Mr Ward was playing with his brother in the garden of the house where his father was Rector of Belton, only six miles from his current parish. “I can remember as a child buying a new ball and being ever so excited,” he said. “I took it out into the rectory garden one summer’s day to play. Within the space of one over it had been lost. It was my first-ever cricket ball, and I cried my eyes out.”

The ball had vanished among plants in an overgrown Victorian pond and, despite a lengthy search, could not be found.

It was only when parishioners began tidying the garden earlier this month, and tackled the pond with a digger, that they turned it up. Mr Ward said: “I have known the current Rector, Rosie Bunn, for quite a few years, and so when she became rector, I jokingly said: ‘If you find that lost cricket ball, I’d be grateful.’ Then they found it. If it’s been submerged in the mud and debris in the bottom of that pond, I can’t imagine it’s going to be in a very healthy condition. It certainly will have lost that nice red shine I was so fond of.

TRACEY PHILLIPSCaught: the ball which the Revd Simon Ward lost nearly 40 years ago, aged 7

“All credit to Rosie and the others at Belton who have done an amazing job reclaiming the garden, bringing people together to work together. Goodness knows what else they found.”

Mr Ward, who still plays as an all-rounder with the Norwich diocesan cricket team, hopes to use the story in a sermon shortly. He said: “Biblically, we are on quite good ground here as, of course, Christ tells us a number of stories about things being lost and found. So, if we can generate the parable of the lost cricket ball, I am sure there is something there for us.”

Tracey Phillips, who led the garden restoration, said that the story of Mr Ward’s lost ball was well known in the parish. “We have been looking for it ever since we moved here,” she said. “Now we have found it, we plan to give it back to him.”

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