BISHOP'S Castle Community College is set to benefit from a haul of treasure following the outcome of an inquest.

It is not known how much money is involved at this stage but it follows the discovery of a haul of gold coins found in an old piano that was donated to the college.

Kathy Dowbiggin, business manager at The Community College Bishop’s Castle, has said that any money will be used to benefit students and has described the remarkable events that led up to the discovery.

“Monday, November 21, 2016 started as a day like any other at the Community College, Bishop’s Castle – but turned out to be anything but,” she said.

“The discovery of hundreds of gold coins in a piano was incredible, exciting and almost unbelievable – and meant it was a day that none of us will ever forget.

“It was during the summer term in 2016 that the Community College appealed to the local community for the donation of any unwanted pianos, as the school did not have enough pianos that students could use for lessons or practice. We were extremely grateful to receive several donations, with the final piano arriving in September.”

But one piano proved to be a gold mine.

“It was on November 21 that we invited a piano tuner to visit the school to review and possibly tune four of the donated pianos,” added Kathy Dowbiggin.

“He felt that one of the pianos had particular potential and set to work.

“A short while later he informed me and the head teacher that he’d discovered several small packages concealed under the piano’s keys.

“We opened one of them and found that it contained a number of coins, which we agreed were gold sovereigns.

“Clearly this was something that none of us could possibly have imagined and it’s hard to describe how we felt on making this discovery.

“After the initial shock, surprise and excitement, we had to quickly decide what to do next.

“We photographed the packages in situ, numbered and photographed each package, and placed them in the school safe.

“After carrying out some internet-based research into gold sovereign and the Treasures Act 1986 we agreed that the coins were a significant find and should be reported to the coroner.

“Shortly after contacting the coroner’s office we were contacted by Peter Reavill [Shropshire’s finds liaison officer], who was working on the coroner’s behalf.

“In this conversation and a subsequent meeting we discussed the find, the Treasures Act, and how the piano was acquired. Peter confirmed that the coins were genuine and took them away for safe-keeping… and began the investigations that led us to where we are today.

“If the school were to be a beneficiary from the find, then we think it’s only right and fair that the money be used to benefit our students and the local community of Bishop’s Castle.”

The value of the find stands to be shared between the Community College and the piano tuner, 61-year-old Martin Backhouse.