HOMEOWNERS were delighted to re-discover their living room was infested by rodents after a house clearance expert made a valuable find.

St Teresa’s Hospice shops operations and house clearance manager Paul Wheatley revealed the carved mouse trademark of master craftsman Robert ‘Mouseman’ Thompson on a fireplace as he collected donated items of furniture from Woodman Cottage in Kilburn, North Yorkshire.

Work by craftsman Robert Thompson, who lived in Kilburn from 1876 -1955, is known throughout the world for its distinctive mouse trademark.

Owner Kathy Birch, 71, who inherited the cottage from her parents, along with her brother and sister, said: “My parents bought Woodman Cottage when they retired to North Yorkshire in 1968.

“It was built in the 1800s so we knew that there was a lot of history associated with the cottage, in fact Robert Thompson’s niece lived here for a short while in the 1930s and we believe that Robert himself put the fireplace in for her.

“None of us needed any of the furniture from the house so when we decided to sell we contacted St Teresa’s Hospice house clearance service and it was lovely to re-discover the mouse on the fireplace when Paul pointed it out to us.”

Kathy and her family now plan to leave the mouse and the fireplace in situ for the new owners to enjoy.

“The fireplace and the mouse belong to the house so it is only right that it stays in place,” added Kathy.

“But I am really pleased that the rest of the items will go towards helping fund the work that the hospice does. The charity’s shop in Thirsk is lovely and it was nice to see one of my parents’ chairs in the window, although it wasn’t there for long.

“We were extremely pleased with the way the whole house clearance service was carried out and I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend St Teresa’s to anyone needing to donate or clear household items.”

St Teresa’s Hospice, on Woodlands Road, Darlington, needs to raise in excess of £3m a year to provide free care and support for residents of Darlington, South West Durham and North-Yorkshire, who are affected by life-limiting illness.

It has ten stores in Darlington, Richmond, Thirsk, Leyburn and Shildon as well as an online Ebay shop.

The charity’s house clearance service operates across Darlington and North Yorkshire.

Assessments are free, trained staff and volunteers can tackle any job and donations made are essential for the hospice to continue its vital work.

For further information on the house clearance service contact Paul at sales@darlingtonhospice.org.uk or phone (01325) 488701.