Government Minister becomes a club member for a day!

Aug 11th, 2010 | By | Category: Club Activities

Left to right Ken Bull, Bill Darley, Ken Marshall (Sites Officer), Ed Vaisey (Culture Minister), Dave Conner (Public Relations Officer)

On Friday 11th June, 2010, members of The Oxford Blues Metal Detecting Club were delighted to welcome Wantage MP and Minister for Culture, Ed Vaizey, to join them for his first metal detecting experience.

This meeting had taken some time to arrange, as obviously, Ed has an even busier diary nowadays!

We arranged to meet with Ed on a farm near Cholsey, Oxfordshire, where a paddock was kindly made available to us by our farmer friend, Mike Ryman.

Thankfully, the forecasters got it wrong on the day, and the rain they had predicted, never materialized, much to our relief.

We had arranged to meet in the farmyard at 2pm. Members of the Oxford Blues MDC arrived before this, in order to set up detectors, and make sure everything was in order so that the event ran smoothly.

Ed was very punctual, and after a short spell meeting and greeting, we made our way to the paddock.

I should point out that the land had not been detected on before, and that we hadn’t ‘planted’ any finds on it, prior to Ed’s arrival!

We chatted with Ed about things we had found, and he was very impressed with the items we had brought along to show him.

We thought it best to bring a good selection of typical detecting finds, so as well as the more impressive hammered silver coins, Roman brooches and such, we showed him horseshoes, bullet cases and assorted non-desirable targets that we all tend to find, wherever we detect.

Ed was particularly keen to hear club member Bill Darley relate his story of the day he found The Didcot Hoard. Definitely the kind of story the rest of us hope we can tell our own version of, one day!

We had a range of detectors to hand, but decided the trusty Laser Hawkeye, would be best suited for a first timer to get to grips with.

We donned our headphones, and with one eye set on the horizon, we all set off across the paddock. We knew that Ed only had a short time available before his next engagement, so Bill Darley and Ken Bull went in search of targets for him to dig, in addition to the ones he was finding for himself!

We were all impressed with how quickly Ed got the hang of it, he’s clearly a natural!

Ed’s first target was the right colour, but sadly, the wrong metal. Isn’t it amazing just how much aluminium foil there is in the ground, even out in the middle of nowhere!

Ed’s second and third targets proved to be aluminum foil too, and we were getting a little concerned that his enthusiasm may begin to taper off at this rate. Ed was clearly determined to soldier on though, and his next signal was round, silver and once adorned the top of a drinks can! We’ve all been there so many times, right?

The minutes were ticking away, and we knew Ed’s busy schedule meant he would have to leave soon, even though he was clearly enjoying the experience.

Just then, Ed got a good signal that registered mid-way on the meter of the Hawkeye.

Ed and Ken Marshall got busy with the trowel and pinpointer, while the rest of us looked on, anxiously . . . and when Ed held aloft the 1971 two pence piece, well, it might just as well have been Excalibur! Well . . . how many of us ever found a coin on our first trip out with a detector?

We’d like to thank Ed Vaizey for taking the time to come and get ‘hands-on’ with metal detecting; we know as Minister for Culture, he’s a very busy man.

Clearly, the fact that he has gone out of his way to participate, demonstrates an open-mindedness we should all welcome.

Story and photographs – Dave Connor.

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