A woman from Ayr received an extraordinary message in the post last week from a champion squash player searching for his cousin.

Laura Armstrong opened her letters to find a message had been sent to her from Australia by a man named Nicol Erskine, an ex-squash champion and teacher, seeking an estranged family member who he had not seen in 60 years.

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The letter begins: “You’ll be surprised to receive this - I’m looking for some help if possible?” before going on to tell Laura about his background and how “in 1960 dad’s older brother, Wullie and wife Bella and only daughter Isobel Erskine looked after me in Ayr... Isobel about my age, I lost touch with [her] and wondered if you have any way of locating her?

“She’d be about my age, also a teacher... They were so good to me.”

Thomas Nicol Erskine, now 83-years-old, last saw his cousin Isobel Erskine, 82, when he visited her family all those years ago back in 1960.

Thomas, sent his message to the address at which he stayed, where Laura now lives, on the off-chance that the person living there might have some information on his cousin’s whereabouts.

Laura said: “It was nice receiving the letter and it would be really good if we could find Isobel or even her children.

“My downstairs neighbour and their daughter remember the family well. They think Isobel must be nearly 80 now and are pretty sure she moved to Cumnock when she got married.

“The surname Nairn rings a bell with them and may possibly be her married name.”

Thomas, who was born in Edinburgh, moved to Africa in 1938 with his family where they lived in the unrecognised state of Rhodesia, modern day Zimbabwe. There he went on to become Rhodesian squash champion in 1965.

He is married to Gay Erskine, who herself was extremely well decorated for her achievements on the squash court, having been crowned Rhodesian champion12 times, as well as winning the South African Championships three times.

Thomas is now living in Australia, where he and wife Gay have lived for the past 40 years.

He’s hopeful of finding his cousin, who it is believed moved to Cumnock when she married.

Do you know Isobel Erskine? Can you help us reunite this family?