Community hopes for cash resurrection

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IT’s an ancient antique that monks hope will bowl over history fans.

Made by the Royal Goldsmiths to George III in 1804, a silver trophy could go under the hammer for a five-figure sum.

The bowl includes the coat of arms for the Londonderry family who made their mark on history by securing the passing of the Act of Union between England and Ireland.

It is just one of the lots set to go under the hammer to help raise money for much-needed repairs of the Community of the Resurrection monastery, in Mirfield.

Other items up for auction include a desk featured in the 1939 film Goodnight Mr Chips and letters penned by Sir Robert Peel, who founded the police force, and former Prime Minister William Gladstone.

Father John Gribben, who has organised the auction, said: “My hope is that the silver bowl will make a five figure sum. But we have something to match everyone’s pockets from lots for a tenner to those that we hope will make thousands of pounds.

“The letter from Sir Robert Peel is easy to read and is beautifully written but to be honest Gladstone’s handwriting is abominable.

“His letter is answering questions about money for the relief of Catholics probably in Ireland.”

Major renovations were needed at the church, which has existed since 1898, and the auction was organised as part of the monks’s efforts to collect £2.3m.

Visitors to the church spent nearly three years without heating and used emergency lighting for two years.

Recent improvements have included a new heating system, disabled access and improved seating.

Two auctions have already been held and last year a set of jewellery given to a mistress of George IV sold for £30,000. The next is on March 29.