Jan 9 2014 by Sophie McCoid, Skelmersdale Advertiser
A PLAQUE which commemorates the generosity of a newspaper editor has been unearthed thanks to a man with a metal detector.
Paul Lea, 30, from Skelmersdale, found the plaque in a wood near Ashurst’s beacon when he was trying out the detection equipment.
The plaque commemorates the gift of 17 acres of land around the beacon to the people of Wigan from the estate of former Wigan Observer editor Thomas Meadows.
Paul was with his friend Cameron McKenzie when he found the sign.
The circumstan- ces surrounding the removal of the plaque are unclear but the location where the plaque was found suggests that thieves may have tried and failed to get it off the hill at some point in the past.
Paul said: “We had just taken the kids for a walk near the beacon and were using our metal detectors when we found the plaque. It beeped and when we dug down, there it was.
“I’ve had the detector about six months and found old coins before but nothing like this.
“It’s a piece of history and people want to find out about this sort of thing, so hopefully it can go back on display.
Paul added: “It looks to me like it came from one of the walls of the beacon and it’s in good condition.”
Wigan council are currently working to restore the plaque to the beacon where they believe it was originally located.