THE search has started in North Yorkshire to find the boyhood home of explorer Captain James Cook.

The Captain Cook Society and Great Ayton History Society are leading the search, funded by a £9,000 grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Local tradition suggests that Cook, who was the first European to land on the eastern coast of Australia in 1770, lived in Great Ayton.

“A local story around here suggests there’s a piece of land near Aireyholme Farm, where he lived with his father and mother,” said John Rowlands, of Great Ayton History Society.

He said the first step of the search was was looking in museums and libraries at historical records such as the Land Register and deeds in order to find out if there was a cottage in the area. Anybody interested in helping with the research is being invited to a meeting at the Discovery Centre in Great Ayton at 7.30pm on September 10.

Volunteers are also being sought to clear and repair the footpath that the Cook family walked along to the village to establish a Captain Cook Trail.