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Case of the lost family history
Buy this photo » One of the pictures from the suitcase
FAMILY photographs, portraits of soldiers from the First World War and memorabilia have been discovered in an old suitcase tucked away in the top of a wardrobe.
Caroline Kelly, new co-owner of Raglan House Care Home in Weymouth, was having a tidy out and reshuffle of furniture at the large Victorian house in Carlton Road South when she came across the keepsakes.
The suitcase is thought to have belonged to Mrs Lily Loader, a former resident of the home, but with the most up-to-date contents more than 20 years old there are no contact details for the next of kin.
Mrs Kelly's partner at the home, Pat Matthews, said they were keen to trace the relatives of Mrs Loader to pass on the treasured items.
Mr Matthews said: "We've been running the home about three years, after Caroline took over the home from the previous owners.
"She was having a tidy-up and moving bits of furniture around when she came across this suitcase on the top shelf of a wardrobe.
"When we opened it up there was all this stuff in there - letters, photographs and invitations.
"It's quite unusual because usually relatives would pick up what someone might have left behind."
He added: "What we want to do is to return all this stuff to whoever it belongs to.
"There's a lot of memorabilia and things I'm sure they'd like to have.
"It's quite exciting really."
Many of the letters - postmarked between 1979 and 1984 - are written to "Aunty Lily" from relatives in Guildford, Surrey and signed Dornio, Graham and "Wynn, Ralph and family."
Some letters are addressed to "Doda" which Mr Matthews believes could be a pet name for Mrs Loader.
A small family paper photo album, professional portraits and receipts are among the items.
A programme for the marriage of Doreen Iris Loader and David Hicks is dated Saturday, June 9, 1956.
Mrs Loader has written on the back of many photographs such things as "My dear sister Ivy, July 1918", "Brother Frank 1916, killed August 7, 1917" and "Doreen very scared flash light". The care home can be contacted on 01305 784192.