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Is this the oldest cricket ball in the world?

The ball at Sussex Cricket Museum Credit: ITV News Meridian

The stitching is almost gone and the leather worn away, but this may well be the oldest cricket ball in the world.

It was found behind the plasterwork of a house in South Street, Lewes, during renovations and is now kept at Sussex Cricket Museum.

Curiously it was discovered with three single shoes. An old custom was to hide a shoe as a good-luck charm.

The shoes have been dated between 1760 and 1770 and so it's assumed the ball is from that time also.

Reporter Derek Johnson with cricket historian Nicholas Sharp Credit: ITV News Meridian

Cricket is thought to date back to at least the 16th Century and Sussex was the first county club to be formed - in 1839.

Cricket historian Nicholas Sharp said: ''No-one has come up with anything that's older. It would have been made by the local saddler or cobbler. Cricket balls were just starting in the 1750s and 60s to be made properly but they were very expensive. It was a gentleman's game at the time.

''A prosperous man had this ball made for his son and then when it started to fall apart a bit he obviously said 'Mum or Dad can you hide this with the shoe to keep the bad l spirits away?'’’

Painting of a Sussex match in the 18th Century Credit: ITV News Meridian

"Grave concerns" for boys aged two and five who are missing with their mother

A search is on for a mother who may have fled abroad, taking her two sons with her. The boys are at the centre of a family court case.

Amelia Warnes, who's 23, and from Eastbourne in Sussex, may have taken Charlie Clift, five, and two-year-old Kaiton Warnes, to North Cyprus.

It's thought Kaiton's father, Jason Warnes, aged 26, of St Leonards, is also with them. The family is thought to have stayed in Lapta, North Cyprus - and Mr Warnes may have been working in the hotel industry.

Charlie's father - carpenter Dominic Burt, 25, also of St Leonards - had not seen his son for months, according to lawyers involved in the case.

Missing Charlie Clift

The judge who has been hearing the family's details in private court has given permission for lawyers to reveal the boys' identities in the hope of finding them.

Sir Gavyn Arthur says he has "grave concern" for the youngsters' welfare.

Social Services team at East Sussex County Council had launched family court proceedings and judges were likely to be asked to make decisions about the boys' futures.

Both boys were the subject of child protection plans and both were wards of court, lawyers said.

Mr Burt - who says Charlie loves "dressing up in Spider-Man and Batman outfits" and "eating cheese" - had provided a photograph of the boys in the hope that they would be spotted by members of the public.

Lawyers are asking anyone who thinks they have seen the boys or their mother and Mr Warnes to raise the alarm.

Sir Gavyn has ordered the boys' mother and Mr Warnes to return the youngsters and has said: "There is evidence before the court which causes the court grave concern."

Police concerned for missing 90-year-old woman

Violet Day is missing from her home in Maidstone Credit: Kent Police

Police are growing concerned for 90-year-old woman reported missing from her home in Maidstone.

Violet Day is believed to have left her home in Armstrong Road at some point between midnight and 5am today.

She is believed to be wearing a cream knitted cardigan, cream trousers and green shoes, and carrying a cream patterned handbag.

Officers are growing increasingly concerned for her welfare and are keen to hear from anyone with information.

Please call 101 quoting reference 04-0163.


Royal Navy go extra mile (underwater) for charity

They will pull a rigid inflatable boat which will carry three support crew and back-up equipment Credit: Royal Navy

Fourteen Royal Navy divers are to attempt walking 26 miles underwater in kit weighing 40kg - all in under 30 hours!

They are due to start the challenge today raising money for the Royal Navy and Royal Marines Charity.

One of the divers, Leading Diver Duncan Watt, 37, said: "It will be extremely tough - both mentally and physically, especially the last ten or so hours. We haven't had much time to do specific training for this because of our busy day jobs, but we are all confident that we can pull this off."

Their equipment includes lead-lined boots, an air cylinder and a 17kg helmet Credit: Royal Navy

New free school in Reading welcomes students

There will be celebrations in Reading this morning as a new free school opens its doors.

Work has been ongoing at Maiden Erlegh. Its first intake will be 178 Year 7 students.

Our team of dedicated staff has worked tirelessly to ensure that our new year 7 students will have a fantastic experience in this brand new school. This year group will be a very special year group who will be able to see the permanent buildings being built before them.

– Chief Executive of Maiden Erlegh Trust, Peter Thomas
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