THERE were diamonds amongst the rough when television antiques expert Thomas Plant hosted a valuation day in St Neots on Saturday. The regular on BBC s Flog It! and Bargain Hunt had offered his expertise to help raise money for St Mary s Parish Church in

THERE were diamonds amongst the rough when television antiques expert Thomas Plant hosted a valuation day in St Neots on Saturday.

The regular on BBC's Flog It! and Bargain Hunt had offered his expertise to help raise money for St Mary's Parish Church in Eaton Socon - the church where he was married.

And as well as raising £1,000 for the fund, Mr Plant was also got to caste his eye over some gems, including a diamond ring insured for £10,000.

"I really enjoyed it," he told The Hunts Post. "I always love looking a people's stuff. You never know what is going to come out of the plastic bag.

"We were busy all day and it was great to arrive and see a small queue of people.

He looked at a 368 items, ranging from paintings, jewellery, toys, kitchenware and furniture.

"The most interesting thing I saw was a medal given by Charles II to royalist supporters on his return to the throne. This was a silver oval-shaped example slightly rubbed but still worth £1,000," he said.

"The most valuable item was a cross over diamond ring, which I gave an insurance valuation of over £10,000.

"I also saw some lovely toys and a very good 0 gauge train called the Princess Elizabeth. It was boxed and worth £200. If it had been painted it would have been worth £1,000."

Other unusual items included a large Roman pot owned by Ce Walker of Buckden dating back to 250BC and valued £800-£1200.

Mr Plant added: "I think it is a good thing to support your local community and it was really nice to meet so many people and see such a varied collection of antiques and collectables."

The antiques expert, who is a director and co-owner of Special Auction Services in Berkshire, married Angela, who has family in St Neots, at St Mary's Parish Church three years ago.

Since then he has agreed to carry out yearly valuation days to help the church raise funds.

Carol Robson, secretary to the church council, said: "The event was more than double the success of last year, it was absolutely fantastic.

"People had started queuing outside the church before it started and it was so popular we had to close the doors at noon. We are sorry we had to turn people away but Mr Plant would have been there all night. Some people were waiting for about five hours and we would like to thank everyone for their patience. Mr Plant has said he would love to come back next year."