PUPILS and residents have celebrated being a step closer to having a replica of a historic book returned to Maldon.

Children from Maldon Primary School and elderly residents got together at the Wantz Road school to toast their help with restoring the 1949 Apple Book, last Friday.

The book was originally composed by Maldon County Primary as a tribute, and was sent to the people of Maldon in Australia’s state of Victoria as a gift.

Australia’s Maldon had sent the Essex pupils tonnes of apples when fresh food shortages were common shortly after the Second World War.

Featuring touching thank you notes, and pictures of children from seven Essex Maldon schools, it was stored at Maldon Museum, Victoria.

However, it became damaged over the years with the pupils’ names becoming detached from their photos, and so the museum wants to repair it and send a replica back to Maldon, Essex.

Retired Great Totham Primary School headteacher, Keith Bannister, who discovered the Apple Book by chance in Australia last year, has been trying to match names to faces in a bid to have it restored.

Following an article in the Standard on October 22 and a Maldon Primary School campaign, its restoration is well under way.

Maldon and Burnham Standard:

Peter Cuffley, historian at Maldon museum, Victoria, Australia, with the Apple Book outside Maldon Primary School. 

Mr Bannister, of Wentworth Meadows, said: “I’m really pleased so many ex Maldon Primary School pupils have contacted me, which has led to us matching the names of 40 of the 60 pupils.

“The information will be passed back to Peter Cuffley from Maldon Museum, Victoria, who will reunite the names to the photos with the aim of sending a replica Apple Book back to the people of Maldon Essex.”