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Can you find the £5,000 jewelled butterfly hidden in the Lancashire countryside?

PUBLISHED: 10:06 25 April 2017 | UPDATED: 10:06 25 April 2017

One of the clues, created by artist Matthew Waite

One of the clues, created by artist Matthew Waite

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A £5,000 jewel has been buried in Lancashire and you can help to find it. Emma Mayoh reports

Andrew Tattington, Mark Gorst, Matthew Waite and Steve LawrenceAndrew Tattington, Mark Gorst, Matthew Waite and Steve Lawrence

It made for an unlikely national obsession. An 18-carat gold, jewel encrusted hare was buried somewhere in Britain. All the public had to do was solve the fiendishly complicated clues to its secret location that came wrapped up in a lavishly illustrated children’s story.

Kit Williams sparked one of the country’s biggest treasure hunts with his book Masquerade, which sold millions of copies across the world in the late 1970s. The book contained clues in paintings and verse that led ultimately to the physical location of the hare.

Inspired by the literary phenomenon – and hoping to generate a similar stir – a group of Lancastrians have organised their own treasure hunt for a £5,000 jewelled butterfly. Steve Laurence and artist Matthew Waite, with support from Down by the Riverside Festival organiser, Mark Gorst, have concocted an intriguing treasure hunt that will takes people to different locations around the county.

‘It’s all places that would be great for people to visit for the day,’ said Steve, who runs community interest company BlocRoc. ‘You could probably cover the locations in a day, if you knew them in advance.

Andrew TattingtonAndrew Tattington

‘We wanted to be able to use this beautiful county we live in to be at the heart of the hunt. And to help more people discover wonderful places.’

Steve and Matthew, who both live in Dolphinholme, have trawled Lancashire finding the ideal locations. Artist Matthew, 45, has created six stunning pieces of art for the clues as part of the hunt. Each one holds all the hints you need to solve the name of each location. You then have to visit the place and, using the clues, find a small box containing two digits. Only when you have solved all six will you be able to solve the master riddle.

Putting together the digits will give you an Ordnance Survey grid reference leading you to within five metres of the buried £5,000 butterfly. The butterfly jewel was designed and made by AB Christie jewellers in Blackpool and is inspired by the Butterfly House at Ashton Memorial in Lancaster’s Williamson Park. It took a few weeks to make the delicate jewel, which is buried in the secret location.

‘For about six months we’ve been working on this unique hunt to find some of the most magical places in Lancashire,’ said Steve. ‘We wanted to find places steeped in history, myth and heritage.

Components to make the butterfly pendantComponents to make the butterfly pendant

‘We want everyone to get some fun from it. Some families may decide to only do a few clues and it will give them some days out in our fantastic county. For ardent treasure hunters, I’m sure they will want to see it through until the end. It’s been really fun for us and our families too. We’ve found out so much we didn’t know about Lancashire.’

The first three clues can be solved with some clever thinking and online research. The latter three are designed to be trickier and take longer to solve, with the aim of getting people out and about in the county over the summer.

Steve’s idea was sparked when he was thinking of different ways to raise money for charity. People wanting to take part in the hunt donate £10 to one of the organisations, which are The Baby Beat Appeal, Ataxia, St John’s Hospice, Wolfwood Rescue, and the clues are unlocked.

‘So often, fundraising is done through doing the same types of events,’ said Steve, 50. ‘And while these are very worthy, I really wanted to come up with something totally different.

‘The idea of a hunt was really exciting to me. It’s something that will give real enjoyment to the people taking part and also raise money for some brilliant charities. We hope people will really take to the idea and that it will make people more aware of what a beautiful county we live in. Hopefully, it could be the first hunt of many.’

For more information and to take part in the hunt visit downbytheriversidefestival.com/the-butterfly-hunt/

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