THE incredible mystery of Christleton’s vanishing village sign has been solved at last – almost!
Measuring over 3 feet wide by 2 feet 7ins tall, the aluminium sign bearing the inscription Welcome to Christleton disappeared without trace…. around ten years ago.
Puzzled villagers found just two metal poles were left in the ground in Plough Lane marking the boundary of the quaint West Cheshire village.
When the former Cheshire County Council denied all knowledge of repairs or renovation, theories ranged from the work of scrap metal thieves to a practical joke.
But recently the sign’s new location was discovered by a retired policeman who spotted Welcome to Christleton adorning the balcony of a flat over 200 miles away in the seaside resort of Bournemouth.
He sent a picture to Richard Nicholson, editor of the Christleton Village website who recognised the missing sign and told parish council clerk Sue Thwaite, who told Cheshire West and Chester’s Highways Department.
With the help of Hampshire police the sign was recovered, transported back to Chester and re-instated on its original housing.
“Apparently the young man who lived at the flat said he had it for some time and readily handed it over. There will be no further action – we are just glad to get the sign back in good condition,” said Chester Villages Councillor Margaret Parker.
Christleton Parish Council clerk, Sue Thwaite, said: “It is certainly a bizarre story – with a happy ending.
“Just how the sign disappeared is anyone’s guess – but I think whoever was responsible would have needed a vehicle to carry it away.”
Christleton (population 2,100) – winner of Cheshire’s Best Kept Village award on seven occasions – has been the victim of pranksters before.
“Usually, it’s the Christleton and Littleton signs being moved around to mislead the unsuspecting to the wrong village” said parish councillor Janet Brown.
“Our boundary sign disappeared around one year after it was first erected but no-one is really sure of the circumstances.