A 76-YEAR-OLD letter written to a future Olympic medallist has been discovered under the floorboards at Taunton School.

The document was uncovered during a refurbishment at one of the boarding houses at the school in Staplegrove Road, Taunton.

Written in 1945, the letter was addressed to a 10-year-old Tauntonian who later went on to become a bronze Olympic relay medallist.

Somerset County Gazette: LETTER: Can you make out what it says?LETTER: Can you make out what it says?

Michael Wheeler competed in the 1956 Olympics in the 4x400m relay, where he won bronze alongside his teammates Peter Higgins, John Salisbury and Derek Johnson.

Andy Budge, the painter and decorator who discovered the letter hidden under the floorboards, said: "I was hunting around to see if there was anything there, I found a few old coins and stamps, then I found the letter.

"Someone else might have seen an old piece of paper and put it in the bin but I’m interested in history so I was curious. It made me feel quite sentimental to think that this letter is part of the history of the school."

Taunton School archivist John Brown said: "We dusted off the old registers and it was certain that the boy in the letter is the young athlete who went on to compete in the Olympics.

"Michael Wheeler was one of the best athletes Taunton School has ever produced."

Michael’s first three years at Taunton School were during World War II, during air raids and food shortages.

During his time at Taunton School, Michael broke several school records in running events, then went on to compete internationally, propelling him towards Olympic success.

Ten-year-old Ellie Onesti, a current Taunton School pupil, said: “We learnt about the war in school recently so it’s really exciting to see this letter.

It was written not long after the war when Michael was the same age as me, life for him would have been very different."

Somerset County Gazette: TEAM: A rugby team photo with Michael in itTEAM: A rugby team photo with Michael in it

Lee Glaser, Taunton School’s Headmaster, said: "To uncover a letter from the 1940s is incredibly exciting – but then to discover that it actually belonged to a pupil who later went on to become an Olympian is astonishing.

"We’re proud of Taunton School’s rich history and our reputation sporting excellence."

Michael retired from athletics in 1966 and went on to become a teacher.

He died in January 2020, aged 84.