Page last updated at 12:04 GMT, Monday, 1 September 2008 13:04 UK

Panners go for gold to make medal

Gold medal winning cyclist Chris Hoy
Scots cyclist Chris Hoy won three gold medals at Beijing Olympics

Volunteers hope to find enough gold from a Highlands river to make a medal for the London Olympics in 2012.

The waters of the River Helmsdale from where it flows in the Strath of Kildonan, Sutherland, will be panned for the precious metal.

Timespan museum in Helmsdale is involved in the effort and will lead a campaign for the gold to be used.

A spokesman for the Games organisers said there was a good chance the offer would be considered.

He said: "No decision has been made on who will provide the medals. It is still too early."

Asked if the Helmsdale gold could potentially be used, the spokesman said: "Opportunities like that have still be put out to public tender, so yes, if they can provide what would be required."

'Find bits'

Gold medal successes at this summer's Beijing Olympics included Scots cyclist Chris Hoy, who won three.

Victoria Reeves, of Timespan, was confident volunteers would find enough to offer for a medal.

The area was the location of a gold rush in 1869.

She said: "Five hundred people rushed to this area in the 19th Century to make their fortune.

"Unfortunately not many people did, but all these years later people still pan for gold and do find bits of gold."

A campaign for a medal of Scottish gold would be launched once enough of it was found, she added.

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