A WISHING well memorial in memory of a town stalwart has raised about £12,000 for Colchester Castle over the past 30 years.

The memorial is an underwater tray in the castle well, into which residents and tourists can drop coins in the manner of a “wishing well”.

It was built in the memory of retired Colchester schoolteacher, Ewart Russell - better known to many as Rusty- who died in 1989.

Mr Russell was a founder member of Colchester Morris Men in 1953, and later he was the treasurer and secretary of the Morris Ring of England for more than a decade, where he held the title of Bagman.

He was also a keen historian and was a great supporter of the town’s museums.

The collecting tray was installed at the park after Colchester Morris Men approached the museum service about recognising Mr Russell’s interest in the castle.

Soon after the idea of the tray being installed as his memorial was agreed and the Morris Men paid for the memorial.

There is a notice at the top of the memorial which pays tribute to Mr Russell and invites people to drop coins into the well.

According to Colchester council’s records the tray, which is lifted two or three times a year, contains about £400 in coins each year.

With the underwater tray collecting coins for 30 years, Mr Russell’s family believe the total money raised is about £12,000.

The money is used by the museum for its work.

Mr Russell’s son, Sir Bob Russell, who is the High Steward of Colchester, said: “My father was good at collecting money from people watching morris displays, putting money in ‘the bag’ - hence the title Bagman.

“I am sure my father would be amused, and very pleased, that his memorial has already bagged £12,000 for the castle museum with more being collected every year.”