St Anne's couple find £21k donation on their doorstep

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Media captionIan Roberts: Pam "opened it and said 'there's money in here'"

A Lancashire couple have been allowed to keep a £21,480 donation to their park appeal which was left in a wicker basket on their doorstep.

Ian Roberts and Pam Curtis discovered the money, which they think was left for their Hope Street Park appeal, at their St Annes home in January.

Mr Roberts said the money, which was left anonymously, would go towards the work being done at the park.

Police said if it was not claimed within 28 days they could keep it.

Mr Roberts said he was "exhilarated; not for any personal reason, but because it will help us so much".

Mr Roberts and Mrs Curtis are the chairman and secretary of Friends of Hope Street Park, a fundraising community group working towards regenerating the Victorian park.

He said it was "not unusual" for the couple, who live opposite the park, to find bags full of books or ornaments, which can be used for fundraising, on their doorstep.

As a result, he said he thought nothing of the parcel until his wife opened it.

He said: "Pam picked it up, brought it into the house and said 'there's money in this'.

"I asked 'how much?' and she said 'it's twenty pound notes and there's loads of them'.

"Pam was counting it and the piles were mounting - I looked at it and I'd never seen so much money in my life."

'Fantastic contribution'

The 61-year-old said he "instinctively thought" it was a donation for the park, but decided to report the find to the police.

"By the time the police came, we'd counted it all and there was £21,480," he said.

"They took it away, saying they had to check any illegal activity around it and that they'd return it in 28 days if no-one claimed it - which they did."

Mr Roberts said he wanted to thank the anonymous donor as the money would go towards refurbishing the bowling pavilion.

He said the park committee had decided to put the money towards the building because "we need a community space, so the pavilion will be that".

"This sort of contribution is fantastic," he said.

"The committee has grafted for over three years to raise the money we have already raised and hopefully, we can build on this and get the job finished."

A spokesman for Lancashire Police said: "They did the correct thing by notifying the police after discovering the money, which has now been returned to them."

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