Metal Detecting helps Metal Micky

Michael Brady
Preston based Michael Brady is 44 years old and, like some of us, rather overweight and battling depression. But there is a legitimate reason. Michael was born with rheumatoid arthritis and didn’t start to walk until six years old. He’d been stuck indoors for over 10 years with aching legs and associated health issues and just had to get out of the house. Things were about to change.
Michael was motivated and inspired when a friend showed him a copy of The Searcher magazine and, as a result, went and bought a metal detector. In no time at all he says, “I was hooked”. The good news is that the hobby encouraged him to get out and walk more. As a result, he’s gradually losing weight and friends now call him ‘Metal Micky’.

On one of his early forays using his Garrett Ace and searching on wet sand, he made a rather special find, a pendant with the following words: BLACKPOOL CARNIVAL JUNE 1923.
Image courtesy of Blackpool Museum Project ©
Michael contacted the people at the local museum who were delighted that he’d shown and offered to donate his find, as they didn’t have one in the Blackpool Heritage Collection.
The Blackpool Museum Heritage Blog said:
“Blackpool began what it thought would be a new tradition, holding an annual Carnival in June. The 1923 Carnival was such a great success that another even bigger and longer carnival was arranged to take place the following year. Unfortunately the 1924 carnival was set to be the last of its kind Blackpool held … although the crowds were equally as immense as the previous year, drunkenness and violence were rife.”
So, the find was rather significant. In 1923 Blackpool organised its first Carnival and in 2017, the year Michael found the pendant, the Carnival was re-launched.
Emma Heslewood, the Curator of the Museum Project, said:
“We are delighted to hear of this exciting discovery on Blackpool’s beach. The pendant is a rare souvenir of the 1923 Blackpool Carnival which was held in June and attracted over two million visitors who enjoyed processions along the promenade and entertainment including pageants, dog shows and motor races.
Michael’s souvenir pendant features an image of Blackpool girl Florence Stevenson who was the face of the 1923 Carnival. Emma said, Her image appears on other souvenirs including the front cover of the Blackpool Carnival song … we don’t have an example of the Carnival pendant in the collection …” Until now, of course!
Images courtesy of Blackpool Museum Project ©
In November 2017 Blackpool Museum announced that they were ‘absolutely thrilled’ with Michael’s donation and said, ‘this beautiful souvenir … joins other items from the Carnival in the Heritage Blackpool collections. Blackpool holds extensive collections on its history as the UK’s largest seaside resort including images and postcards related to its carnivals.’
I like a story with a feel-good factor. At a time when detectorists are chastised and maligned by some for simply carrying out their hobby, this is yet another example of the good they can do. Michael hasn’t found a gold artefact worth a lot of money, but he has uncovered an important part of Blackpool’s history and donated it to their heritage collection … and that’s priceless! Well done, and thanks for sharing your delightful story, Michael.
Michael has the last word,”Since I got my detector and starting to get healthier, plus the feeling when you find something nice, kills any pain so I would advise any one in a similar situation as me to get involved in the hobby”.



Since this article was published Michael tells me that His Garrett Ace has ‘packed up’ and he’s ‘trying to get himself another one.’ With the lack of exercise his weight has also increased . . . 


Tim Loughton, MP for East Worthing and Shoreham and Dr Michael Lewis, Head of PAS at the Houses of Parliament this morning at the judging of The Searcher’s Nations’ Greatest Finds Competition! Results to be published in a future issue.

Image may contain: 2 people, people sitting

16 thoughts on “Metal Detecting helps Metal Micky”

  1. It is the getting, not the having, that drives most of us, John.. And when you can find a piece with significant history, well, that just makes it all the better.

    Plus the exercise and mental relaxation.. all in all, it does not get much better than that


  2. I am in a similar situation to young Micheal, I have a disease called Ankylosing Spondulitis, my spine is fusing together, and my peripheral joints are also affected, I’ve had it since a was 19, a long time ago, when I had to take early retirement because of the disabling efforts of the disease I needed something to stop my mind and body from rotting away, so I returned to my younger days hobby, metal detecting has kept me mobile, all be it at a slow pace, and I have to take a lot of brakes to allow the pain to subside, and the research of any finds I may make has kept my mind active, although it may take 3 to 5 days recovering from my day out, to me it’s worth every minute of pain for the benefit I get physical and mental, I don’t think I would be in a very good place if I wasn’t able to go detecting, and I am dreading the day when I can no longer swing my Deus, good luck Michael I wish you many more years of detecting.

  3. As you say a delightful story. Definitely has feel good factor. I hope Michael has many more interesting finds.

    So do I Nettie, but we’ll have to wait until he can afford a new machine.

  4. Here again is a fine example of how the hobby is helping people deal with disabilities and afflictions that have limited medical support. Good luck to Michael and best wishes on the positive road he has chosen to travel.

  5. It is the getting, not the having, that drives most of us, John.. And when you can find a piece with significant history, well, that just makes it all the better.

    Plus the exercise and mental relaxation.. all in all, it does not get much better than that.. and that is evidenced by the fact that Michael is getting out..

    RA is a nasty disease [my wife suffers from it] and it can be so debilitating to both the body and to the mind. Congratulations to him for his positive attitude


  6. I started detecting for similar reasons. Sadly I am no longer able. I would suggest that Michael carry on with the walking until he gets a new detector. Otherwise, he may find that his condition may worsen and he may find himself unable to detect.

  7. What I love about this story is that it shows that finds don’t have to be ancient or of made of gold to be valuable and exciting. This captures such a wonderful piece of social history and I don’t suppose many would have survived. I now can’t wait to go to Blackpool to look for this in their museum display.

    • Not made of precious metal indeed, but perhaps more meaningful. Thanks to Michael and his fine gesture, the museum now has an important piece of its recent history. This story ticked most of the boxes.

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