NOSTALGIA buff Terry Kelly's eyes lit up when he saw a small ship's bell for sale in a charity shop.

For on it was inscribed 'Titanic 1912', and, quite coincidentally, he'd spotted it immediately after reading on this page about speculation as to whether a St Helens brass foundry had supplied the porthole frames and ship's bell for that ill-fated passenger liner. (Subsequent correspondence sank this theory).

Terry, from Windle, is a 57-year-old self-confessed 'human magpie' who loves collecting every manner of thing, from miners' lamps and brassware to ceramics and glass. He'd immediately parted with a tenner at an Age Concern charity shop for the little Titanic bell, which is 8ins high and 10ins across its widest point. A hanging bracket is attached.

While realising that it's far too small to have been used on board ship, he wonders whether it could have been a souvenir made at around the time of the Titanic's launch.

Chances are it is a later reproduction, but Terry says: "If it is a genuine historical antique I'd be willing to hand it over to a museum, or, if of high value to a collector, I'd certainly make a contribution to charity".

H IF Terry's nautical find rings a bell with our knowledgeable readers, then please drop me a line.