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Apologetic pensioner returns library book 63 years late

The woman borrowed the book while she was a student in north Norfolk in the 1950s. Credit: PA

An apologetic pensioner has returned a library book 63 years late.

The woman, now in her 70s, borrowed the book while she was a student at a school in north Norfolk in 1953.

When clearing out clutter in her house she discovered the 1929 copy of Travels With A Donkey In The Cevennes by Robert Louis Stevenson and was shocked to find it stamped with a 1953 return date.

It has now been returned to North Walsham High School which, fortunately for the reader, has a policy of not fining people for overdue books.

The school library is appealing for anyone else who might have a long-overdue book to return it.

"While we don't lose many books, there must have been a few which have been inadvertently retained by students over the years.

"It would be really nice to get some of them back, especially older books which we might not have on the shelves today.

"The lady who brought back the Robert Louis Stevenson book apologised for not returning it sooner - but better late than never."

– Liz Sawyer, School librarian

Travels With A Donkey In The Cevennes is Robert Louis Stevenson's account of his 120-mile solo hike through the sparsely-populated Cevennes mountains in south-central France in 1878. His only companion was Modestine, a stubborn donkey with which he has a difficult relationship, but eventually grows fond of.

The world's largest fine for an overdue library book is 345.14 US dollars (£273.02) according to Guinness World Records.

The book was borrowed from Kewanee Public Library, Illinois, in the US, and was due back in April 1955, two years after the Norfolk book.

It was found by the daughter of the woman who borrowed it, 47 years later.