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£10 million Magna Carta found hidden in town's archives

There are only four copies of the Magna Carta known to exist Credit: PA

An edition of the Magna Carta which could be worth up to £10 million has been found after it lay forgotten in a council's archives.

The discovery of the version of the historical parchment which established the principle of the rule of law, in the files of the history department of Kent County Council, has been described as an important historical find by an expert.

The document was found in the archives kept in Maidstone but belonging to the town of Sandwich.

The discovery was made at the Kent History and Library centre Credit: KCC

It's understood the document, which is the Charter of Forest, was found in a Victorian scrap book.

The discovery was made by archivist Dr Mark Bateson at the end of December just before the 800th anniversary year celebrations of King John's concession.

"It is a fantastic discovery which comes in the week that the four other known versions were brought together at the Houses of Parliament.

"It is a fantastic piece of news for Sandwich which puts it in a small category of towns and institutions that own a 1300 issue."

– Professor Nicholas Vincent, who authenticated the document
The Salisbury Magna Carta, one of only four 1215 originals Credit: PA

It is understood that Sandwich does not intend to sell its Magna Carta but instead is hoping to benefit from its potential as a tourist attraction.

Endangered African painted dog pups make debut at Port Lympne

Keepers at Port Lympne Animal Reserve in Kent are celebrating as not one, but three litters of endangered African painted dog puppies have made their public debut.

It's thought less than 3000 of this breed, which is most commonly found in Southern Africa, now remain in the wild.

The birth of these pups, who are now three months old and a mix of males and females, takes the number of African painted dogs at the Reserve, near Ashford, to a staggering 43.

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Rare Russian medals could fetch thousands at auction

Medal shows the transportation of the granite monolith for a monument of Catherine the Great’s husband, Philip I. Credit: Duke's of Dorchester

A pair of rare Russian medals found in house in Dorset are expected to fetch around three to five thousand pounds each at auction.

The gold collectables date back to the 1700s and are believed to have been struck during the reign of Catherine the Great (1761-1796).

One of the coins depicts the establishment of the Foundling Hospital in Moscow. The auctioneer who discovered the medals, Timothy Medhurst, said that newspaper articles in the years after the site opened reported that up to 40 children per day were admitted to the institution which could hold up to 7000 children.

It is hoped the sale may attract some wealthy Russian bidders keen to purchase historical objects. The items will be sold at Duke's of Dorchester on 12th March.

Medal commemorates the creation of the Foundling Hospital in Moscow which was capable of housing up to 7,000 children Credit: Duke's of Dorchester

Both medals depict important events in the history of Russia - the Foundling Hospital for example, was so important to the country that when Napoleon retreated from Moscow in 1812, he gave specific orders to preserve the building.

To find not one but two medals crafted in gold, an expensive material in which very few medals were ever issued and in this original condition is exceptional.

– Timothy Medhurst, Auctioneer

Husband tips off police about his wife drink-driving on the school run

A court has heard how a late night row led a husband to report his wife for drink-driving on the school run the next morning.

33 year old Emily Colbourne from Henfield pleaded guilty at Worthing Magistrates Court today and was banned from driving for three years.

Sussex Police have defended their policy of "naming and shaming" drink-drivers. Malcolm Shaw spoke to Chief Inspector Phil Nicholas.

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The South marks Holocaust memorial day

Candles are lit for the victims of holocaust Credit: PA

Events are due to take place across the south and south east today to mark Holocaust Memorial Day.

It's exactly 70 years since the liberation of Auschwitz and special services are being held at public buildings and war memorials all across the region.

Holocaust Memorial Day has been commemorated world-wide since 2000, and provides a specific day to remember the millions of people who have been murdered or whose lives have been changed beyond recognition during the holocaust, and in subsequent genocides in Cambodia, Rwandur, Bosnia and Darfur.

Well have a full report in Meridian Tonight at 6pm

Fire breaks out on cruise ship which sailed from Southampton

The fire, off the coast of Morocco, has been extinguished Credit: Fred Olsen cruises

A cruise ship which sailed from Southampton,carrying more than 1,000 people, was left without power off the coast of Morocco, after a fire in the engine room.

The ship listed for a short time but is now fully stable, and the fire has been put out.

Boudicca is carrying 784 guests and 356 crew on board and the firm said today it has kept everyone informed of the situation.

The ship is now on the move again near Casablanca, with three auxillary engines and two main engines running.

No one was injured in the incident.

The ship left Southampton on Tuesday and sailed from Cadiz in Spain, yesterday.

It is scheduled to arrive at Arrecife in Lanzarote, tomorrow.

The Boudicca is one of four cruise liners owned by the UK-based, Norwegian-owned company Fred Olsen Cruise Lines.

Murder detectives invite more men to DNA screening

Police investigating the unsolved murder of Valerie Graves are reminding men who work or live in, or visit, Bosham, that a DNA screening facility is open in the village from 10am to 8pm today, as well as the next four days.

Police want to rule out as many people as possible from the investigation

More than 500 men have already come forward since the screening began on Wednesday, to eliminate themselves from the investigation.

The screening is taking place at the Millstream Hotel in Bosham Lane, Bosham, and you can also meet the police at their major incident vehicle in Delling Lane, Bosham, at the back of the Co-op.

Anyone who attends is asked to bring along photo identification, a passport or the photo driving licence. An officer will fill out some details, check their identification and take a photo of them. Their thumbprint will be taken and a swab will be taken from inside their mouth.

  1. Kerry Swain

Quadruple amputee Alex gets support from injured soldiers

Double amputee Jim Wilson meets quadruple amputee Alex Lewis

Soldiers who lost limbs in Afghanistan have pledged their support for a man who had both legs and arms amputated after a devastating infection. Alex Lewis from Stockbridge says there's little help for civilian amputees who want to get fit and their help will make a huge difference to his life.

The Pilgrim Bandits charity, based in the New Forest, was set up to help wounded soldiers live life to the full by pushing them into tough physical challenges. And just over a year after he lost all four limbs and part of his face, Alex has been invited to go sky diving.

The soldiers say they can also offer valuable advice about the best prosthetics. The high tech artificial limbs Alex wants are not available on the NHS and over his lifetime will cost around a million pounds. He has launched a trust to raise the money.Kerry Swain has this report.

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