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27 April 2017

Half a million pounds found in old piano

This is a slightly complicated and very odd story. Years ago, a UK family bought an old piano so that their children could learn to play music. Two years ago, when their children had all grown up, they gave the piano to their local school so that other children could learn to play.

Last year, the school asked Martin Backhouse to repair the piano and make it play well again. When he took it apart, he was amazed to find a parcel under the keyboard. He thought the parcel would have chemicals inside to keep insects away, but inside he found over 900 gold coins, some a hundred years old.

Now a court has decided that the money will be shared between Mr Backhouse and the school which now owns the piano. None of the money will go to the family who gave the piano to the school, because they gave it away. The coins will be offered to the British Museum.  

Royal family cheer on London runners

The London Marathon was held last weekend. Lots of people were running to raise money for a charity to help people with mental health problems which is supported by Prince William and Prince Harry.

The two Princes, plus the Duchess of Cambridge, watched as the runners went past, cheering them on, taking selfies with them and giving high fives. They also started the race, handed out water at 22 miles and awarded medals at the finish line.

Prince William and his wife also publicised the charity by appearing on a pop radio show where they answered questions about their lives. We learned that it is very hard to buy presents for the Queen, that they like eating takeaway curry, and that Prince William likes going to music festivals with a false beard.

UK's biggest churches have money troubles

Some of the most beautiful and historic buildings in the UK are ancient cathedrals – the huge churches that were mostly built hundreds of years ago.

Almost half of the Church of England's cathedrals face a financial crisis and some may even have to close. It costs more and more to run and repair these ancient buildings, and most cathedrals do not charge an entrance fee.

Durham Cathedral, in the north of England, is 900 years old. It will cost GBP 40 million to repair it during the next 15-20 years, and running costs are GBP 10,000 a day. It gets enough from visitors to cover its running costs for just two weeks.

See the UK's rarest wildflowers – by a road

You might think that roadsides are not very interesting. But some of the UK's rarest plants only live by the sides of roads now, and could die out if they are not protected.

One rare plant lives in just one place, near a burger van on a main road near Cambridge.

A charity which works to protect rare plants says that more than 700 wild flower plants live at the side of UK roads. Over ten per cent of them are close to dying out. They are asking for changes to how the road sides are looked after, including cutting grass at different times of the year.


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