Very sad indeed…
The NorthWest Evening Mail, Cumbria – Ulverston – 21st December
ANGRY creditors of a bankrupt Furness archaeologist fear they will never see thousands of pounds he owes them.Some of them claim that Steve Dickinson, of Trinity Gardens, Ulverston, “disappeared off the radar” after taking money for work he never completed.
Now he has been declared insolvent at a Barrow County Court hearing.
Mr Dickinson, 50, is well known across Furness for his organised digs, often involving local schools.
He was investigated by Trading Standards after claims he failed to complete at least £10,000-worth of work for the Hidden Light Low Furness project.
Formerly trading as First Light Heritage Agency, Mr Dickinson hired the Newcastle-based archaeologist Ben Johnson to do 10 weeks’ work on an Urswick dig in 2005.
Mr Johnson, 31, who is owed in the region of £4,000, said: “When I started work for him he paid me a bit of money to keep me sweet, but when I left and asked about the rest he didn’t want to know.
“If he saw me in the street after the non-payment he used to scuttle away.”
He said that bankruptcy proceedings were instigated by Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs.
The Furness Hidden Light Project, funded using a £25,000 grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund, should have included a display at the tower of Urswick’s St Mary and St Michael’s Church.
It should have been completed by Easter 2005.
Mr Dickinson’s agency approached project organisers to offer their services in helping with digs to boost tourism in the area between Barrow and Ulverston.
Urswick vicar Reverend Colin Honour said: “There is still work
outstanding and First Light told us they would produce an exhibit for us, yet they still haven’t.”
Former Hidden Light chairman Jim Webster added: “Mr Dickinson owes us money for work that he has not done and has just disappeared off the radar.”
Mr Dickinson is married to accountant Vicky Bracegirdle, daughter of the Vicar of Millom.
He once claimed to have discovered the birthplace of St Patrick in Urswick.
On another occasion he announced plans for a 500-mile sponsored Lakeland walk to raise funds for his projects.
According to Insolvency Service documents seen by the Evening Mail, Mr Dickinson gives his occupation as sales and customer service. He has been working recently as a barman. Under the latest bankruptcy laws, Mr Dickinson will be automatically discharged in September, 2008.
He was unavailable for comment when contacted by the Evening Mail.
A Cumbria County Council Trading Standards spokesman said: “We are no longer pursuing an investigation in this matter.”
Oh dear – lets hope that a happy ending comes from this.