Wigan dad’s metal detector hunt uncovers family treasure

An elderly woman will soon be able to admire a football medal given to her grandfather more than 100 years ago - after it was found in a field by a Wigan dad.

Friday, 29th May 2020, 12:30 pm
Scott France with sons James, six, and George, four

Scott France, 34, started using a metal detector last year between night shifts as an electrician on the railways, after originally buying the device for his father.

He found five coins on the first day and decided to keep searching the local area to see what else he could uncover.

But it was a discovery in a field on Dicconson Lane in Aspull in February that really caught his attention.

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The football medal, right, and a coin found by Scott

Scott, who lives in Whelley, said: “I didn’t really know what it was. I was shocked. It reminded me of a death or something. I saw 1911 and wondered what it was.

“I scrubbed it down and looked and it said AP Seddon and I realised it was a football medal. I looked Cleckheaton up straight away and saw it was in Yorkshire. I wondered how it had got here.”

The medal featured the words: “AP Seddon centre forward Cleckheaton AFC 1911-12”

It was the second find by Scott that day, having already come across a silver shilling dated 1941.

Scott contacted the football club to find out more and learned that medals such as these were popular mementoes from sporting teams at the time.

“I wondered how it got here,” he said. “I thought maybe at one time there was a football tournament here and maybe it got lost then.”

He put the medal away, but later got it out again and decided to list it for sale on eBay.

But Scott then decided to find out more about the man who had owned it instead.

Scott, who is engaged and has two sons, said: “I found it and it was in the cupboard for a bit. With the lockdown, I thought I would do some research into who this man was.

“My auntie is a bit of a whizz on ancestry. I gave her some details and she looked him up.”

His aunt Florence France was able to find out all sorts of information about the owner of the medal, who was named Alexander Percy Seddon.

He was born in Aspull on October 25, 1884, one of six brothers and four sisters, before later moving to Cleckheaton for work.

Scott said: “I looked into it and got more information. I found out he was a railway signalman. He started off as an insurance agent and moved to Cleckheaton. He was boarding with a family there and must have joined the football team.

“He moved back to Aspull then, where he was from. He joined the railways.

“I got old maps up and the railway line ran straight through the field where I found it, so putting two and two together, I’m assuming he must have lost it at work.”

It was quite a discovery for Scott, who has worked on the railways for the past four years as an electrical supervisor.

The research also revealed AP Seddon married Florence Bond in 1913 and the couple had two children, Ronald and Dorothy.

He was in the military in 1914-15 and married again in Bolton in 1935 to Mary Hitchen.

Mr Seddon died in July 1965, aged 80.

Both his wife Mary and his son Ronald, who was a police constable in West Sussex, died that same year.

As Scott and his aunt Florence continued their research online, they found out more about the Seddon family.

Scott said: “She looked him up and we started putting bits and pieces in. She came across a picture of the Seddon family, with his brothers, and she looked into who had uploaded the photograph. It was some sort of relation to the family.

“They had a couple of emails back and forth and he gave us more information about his son and he had a daughter. We got in touch with his granddaughter.”

Scott managed to speak to Mr Seddon’s granddaughter, who is 75 and lives in Brighton.

“She couldn’t believe it,” he said. “She was buzzing. She was really nice and well spoken.

“She sent me some pictures. She told me a bit about him and said he was a real character and always making them all laugh.

“She used to have family holidays in Aspull and can remember him.”

Scott was delighted to track down the family of Mr Seddon and has since been past the houses in Aspull and Hindley where he once lived.

He now hopes to give the medal to his granddaughter, though his initial plan to do it during a camping trip in the area this summer has been scrapped due to the pandemic.

Scott said: “I think it’s brilliant. I am really happy. It has been sitting in my cupboard with the other coins and we have found out about him.

“It happened pretty quickly. I wouldn’t have been able to do it without my auntie. She got to the bottom of it quite quickly. It has been good piecing it all together.”

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