Mystery as school digs up churchyard but can't find Millennium time capsule

One of our time capsules is missing...

Monday, 10th February 2020, 2:55 pm

A Sunderland school’s efforts to go back in time came unstuck when a 20-year-old capsule full of memorabilia disappeared.

Staff at St Patrick's RC Primary School in Ryhope had the idea of burying a time capsule to commemorate Sunday’s palindromic date – 02.02.2020 – which reads the same forward as back.

And they figured it was the perfect moment to unearth one buried in the neighbouring churchyard to mark the Millennium.

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St Patrick's RC Primary School children from left Amelia Gibson, 6 , Jack Slee, 11 and Ruby Clark, 11 prepare to bury the new time capsule

There was just one snag – no-one could find it.

“About 40 people said it was buried under a tree,” said school business manager Caroline Fairrington.

“We spoke to the head at the time, the priest at the time, and we’ve got parents at the school now who were pupils at the time.

“They had dug a hole for the capsule, then planted the tree on top of it. But we just couldn’t find it.

St Patrick's RC Primary School children from left Jack Slee, 11, Amelia Gibson, 6 and Ruby Clark, 11 prepare to bury the new time capsule

“We ended up with a 10ft by 4ft trench, but we couldn’t find the thing, so basically, we’ve just had to fill the hole back in.”

Caroline fears the old capsule may have met a watery end: “There used to be a pond which has since been filled in,” she said.

”We don’t know whether it has been filled in with rubble dug up from where the old capsule was – it might be buried where the pond used to be.

“It is a bit of a mystery.”

St Patrick's RC Primary School's new time capsule

As well as contributing to the new capsule. pupils have been creating their own to take home and keep.

“They have all made their own capsules and they have all contributed to the new one as well,” said Caroline.

“We have got photos of all the classes, and articles about the school from the Echo. There are coins, a £5 and £10 note and someone has donated an old iPhone with a broken screen, so that has gone in as well.”

And the school is taking no chances this time.

St Patrick's RC Primary School children from left Jack Slee, 11, Amelia Gibson, 6 and Ruby Clark, 11 prepare to bury the new time capsule

“We’ve taken lots of photos, we’ve told everybody where it is and we’re going to put a little plaque up,” said Caroline.