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Pickering Brook discovery
Chidlow detectorist Rhys Hall delivered the restored christening cup dating back to May 13, 1907, to owner Albert Beard’s eldest son Malcolm, Inset: the christening cup before restoration.

Hills detectorist uncovers family heirloom

THE discovery of a 115-year-old christening cup has received a remarkable response from the family and friends of one Pickering Brook man.

When Chidlow detectorist Rhys Hall came across a pancaked cup buried in the dirt at Pickering Brook, his curiosity prompted him to dig a little deeper.

On a typical day out with his metal detector, Mr Hall would dump hunks of seemingly irreparable silver into his scrap bucket, but the intricate detailing and crushed engravings on one piece led him to believe there was a story to uncover.

“I knew it was silver and I could see decorations, there was a bow detail on the side of it, so I knew it had special meaning,” Mr Hall said.

“I thought, there was no harm in straightening the cup out, so I used a hammer and heated it up a bit.

“I didn’t expect to find something so old and so locally historical.”

The cup was a christening gift belonging to Albert John Beard dating back to May 13, 1907, 115 years ago to today’s date.

Mr Hall took to his Facebook page Relic Custodians Australia to see if anyone could join the dots and with luck, link the cup to a family member.

“Within about half an hour of posting a lady sent me a message of who she believed to be the owner,” he said.

“I jumped on the White Pages, there were four families with the Beard surname and the second number I tried picked up.”

On the other end of the line was Malcolm Beard, Albert Beard’s eldest son, now 92 years old, still living in Pickering Brook.

Mr Hall presented the cup to Mr Beard last weekend and he was amazed by Mr Hall’s efforts to restore and track him down.

“I was more than surprised and now my sisters are coming to see the cup,” Mr Beard said.

“Everyone in the district wants to have a look at it, we are most impressed.

“I am thankful to Rhys that he found it and in return I took him out to show him where the old goldmine is.”

Mr Beard’s parents Albert, better known as Bert, and his wife Alice bought the Pickering Brook general store in 1943 from Alice’s parents Helen and William Hewison who ran the store for almost 30 years.

The Beard family operated the general store and transported produce to locals in the Beard’s delivery truck until 1959 and were active identities in the community.

Mr Hall said returning relics or lost and found items to people was a reward in itself and he felt pleased to see that Mr Beard was ‘over the moon’ with his unusual finding.

“It is a little intimidating at first, calling up people with what you’ve found,” he said.

“But once you break the ice it’s a good feeling, it gives you closure, it’s emotional.”

By Morgan de Smidt

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Echo News gives readers an alternative to other media outlets in WA and enjoys a very high rate of readership in its distribution area. Our Echo News team are a small group of devoted individuals who work hard to give the local community an easy to read, yet intelligent mix of local community stories.

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