RAY Waring clutches a piece of history harking back to a village's hunting days that was found after lying buried in a sandbank for more than 200 years.

Last weekend metal detecting enthusiasts and novices gathered at Inglenook Farm in Rainford for a special exhibition of artefacts found in the village.

And showing off one of the treasures was Ray,,chairman of the Rainford Heritage Society recently, who unearthed a Crotal Bell at Bridge Farm which was worn around the necks of hunting dogs and goats.

He said: “It was verified by Liverpool Museums with a likely date of around 1800. Amazingly when cleaned and dried the bell retained its lovely ringing sound even though it had been buried for more than 200 years in a Rainford sand deposit.”

The society, which is based at the farm, is open from 10am to 4pm every day including bank holidays.

Ray, who lives in the village, said: “The heritage centre has everything to do with the history of Rainford. The amount of visitors has increased so much that we are even thinking about putting a visitors book in there. In the centre we have the history of clay pipe making and tobacco pipes and farming equipment donated by local farmers.”

Ray can often be spotted out and about with his metal detector as he helps build up a picture of historical Rainford.

He added: “We do a lot of metal detecting and only recently I found a selection of coins. Everything we find is to build up the history of Rainford and is there for people to see.”

In October the society will be holding a special themed heritage day based around the First World War with a display of vintage vehicles, entertainment, food and activities for children.

“There will be a story about two St Helens brothers during the war and songs and even a tuck shop. It should be a fantastic event.”