Memorial plaque washes up 140 miles away on Somerset beach

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Image caption,
The plaque travelled 140 miles from Worcestershire to Somerset

A memorial plaque, lost during floods in Worcestershire, has washed up on a beach 140 miles away.

The bronze plaque was dedicated to John Bannister who worked on the Arley Estate and Arboretum.

It was found by Keith Hunt, in Porlock, Somerset, who was doing a beach clean as part of Keep Britain Tidy.

The plaque had been attached to a bench in the village that was carried away in the wake of Storm Dennis, which hit the UK in February 2020.

The plaque - on a broken part of the bench - is likely to have travelled down the River Severn, which leads into the Bristol Channel and to the Somerset coast.

More than a year later, Minehead school teacher Mr Hunt told BBC Somerset his find was "unusual" and added the estate was "over the moon" it had been recovered.

Image caption,
Keith Hunt found the plaque while carrying out a beach clean
Image caption,
The beach at Porlock is 140 miles away from Worcestershire

"I spotted one piece [of wood] in particular and saw the plaque. I'm not sure where Arley is," he said.

"So I took a photo of it, came home and Googled it and found it up and Worcestershire I thought wow that's travelled a long way."

Mr Hunt returned the next day with a saw and a screwdriver to take the plaque off the bench, which was too heavy to move.

Mr Hunt then got in touch with the Arley Estate to arrange to return it.

John Bannister, who died in 1995, had worked on the Estate for many years. His widow still lives there.

"I've found all sorts of things but I think this is the most treasurable because it means so much to so many different people," Mr Hunt added.

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