A bowls enthusiast from Redbourn has reunited 144-year-old woods with their counterparts - 400 miles away.

Eric Ditchfield bought a half set of old wooden bowls for £7 at an antique bring and buy sale in Flamstead more than 20 years ago, and until recently they lay forgotten in a box in his garage.

It was only when Eric had a clearout that he "stumbled across" the bowls again.

The 81-year-old said: "It’s quite funny really. I originally bought the two bowls, not for their wood content but for the solid silver shields on each side of the bowls.

"They were then boxed up and moved from house to house forgotten about. It wasn’t until I cleaned the woods that I discovered their significance. I have since taken up bowls and knew I had to get in touch with the original club."

Eric cleaned up the "tarnished" silver shields and they revealed that the woods had belonged to James Anderson - the 1865, 1867, 1868, 1870 and 1874 singles champion of Bellahouston Bowling Club in Glasgow.

Eric, who joined Harpenden Bowling Club five years ago, tried the woods on the green and found that they were exactly the same weight and virtually identical in performance to his current size three bowls.

The Brooke End resident added: "I searched on the internet and found the club, which was formed in 1858, was still around.

"The club’s secretary Jim Inglis contacted me and said the club would be delighted to have a little bit of their club’s history returned to them.

"Not only that, amazingly he told me that a couple of years earlier the club had received a phone call from someone who lived just outside Largs on the west coast of Scotland.  This gentleman had a pair of woods which had belonged to James Anderson.

"So now, some 144 years after the full set are back in tact and now have pride of place in the club’s trophy cabinet.

"It was only fit and proper that the bowls be returned home to Scotland. They have ended up in the right place."

Eric, whose 11-year-old grandson is also a keen bowler, said he was "thrilled" to have been able to return a bit of history to Scotland and the alternative would have been a trip to the dump at Southdown.