AN EXQUISITELY hand crafted mascot's uniform last worn during the glory days of pit village jazz bands has seen the light of day after decades in a loft.

The uniform, which once belonged George Harris of the No Place Nobblers, was brought out again after 70 years, in response to appeal by amateur local historian Bill Lees.

He is near the end of writing a book on No Place, a small village near Stanley.

Mr Lees said: "It is unbelievable. A lot of people from that era have died, but we had an idea there would be some uniforms left."

This is the first time the picture has been seen in colour. Until now it has only been seen in black and white photographs.

Mr Lees said pit village jazz bands were formed in the wake of the 1926 strike, when many people were out of work.

It gave men something to do and competitions became something of an institution in the mining villages of the area.

The No Place Nobblers, who soon firmly established themselves as one of the favourites, were initially a motley crew dressed in all manner of clothing. They wore anything from sailors suits to groundsmen uniforms. There were three children who had authentic American Indian clothing brought back from Canada by a miner.

As time went on they decided to smarten up and wives and daughters made the outfits, including headdresses, ties and waistcoats to wear for performances. They stitched on hundreds of beads in exquisite patterns.

The Second World War put paid to the No Place Nobblers and the uniforms all but disappeared - coming out only a few times briefly at weddings or special occasions.

Margaret Tubman, of East Stanley, who took out the uniform in response to an earlier newspaper article, said: "My father Robert and his brother Tom played in the band and their younger brother George was the mascot.

"I have my uncle's mascot's uniform in my loft, since my mother gave it to me 40 years ago. It is of great sentimental value."

Anyone who may have more information about the No Place Nobblers can contact Mr Lees on (0191) 3852641