THE Colne Valley Museum is on the verge of realising its dream.
The tiny Golcar-based museum, housed in a row of three cottages, has been frantically fund raising for more than a year in a bid to snap up a vacant fish and chip shop adjoining the museum.
The organisers said expanding the museum into the empty property would allow them to display more exhibits and was crucial for the museum’s survival.
Now, after a dramatic 12 months of mystery benefactors and a £60,000 windfall donation from Kirklees Council, and £1,000 from the disbanding Colne Valley Society, the museum’s organisers say they are almost there and have begun to call in the pledges.
Secretary and publicity officer Anne Lord said the trustees were extremely grateful to the owner, Mr Alan Wimpenny for his patience in giving them the time to raise the money.
“Our first mammoth step is to purchase the property, and with the help of Kirklees Council and the Colne Valley Area Committee this is looking like a reality rather than just a dream,” she said.
“Once we secure the building we will need to get a feasibility study done and then we will have to raise an enormous amount for the refurbishment.
“The building is listed and in the Golcar conservation area and all work will have to be carried out to the specific heritage requirements.”
Mrs Lord revealed that the dedicated volunteers had raised almost £40,000 in pledges and donations ranging from £5 up to four figure sums.
She added: “We have had a magnificent response from our members and supporters, local businesses and the people of the Colne Valley and it is very heartening to the present volunteers who run the museum and who are working so hard to make this project happen that the enthusiasm and good will towards the museum is still there.
“Our largest benefactor — after the windfall from Kirklees — is the well known Colne Valley firm of Thornton & Ross.
“Their chairman Jonathan Thornton came up to the museum to see what we were about and followed this up with a generous pledge, which was most encouraging.”
Mr Thornton told the Express & Chronicle that he was happy to help.
He said: “We are delighted to help to support this exciting project for the Colne Valley Museum which provides a unique insight into the history of some important local trades.
“Whilst Thornton & Ross doesn’t go back as far as the 1850s, the company has been in business in the Colne Valley since 1922 and has grown to become the biggest independent over-the-counter pharmaceutical manufacturer in the UK.
“With both family and employee links with Golcar, the work of the museum is of particular interest and it is good to be able to offer support to such an enthusiastic and hard working team of people.”
CONTACT: All museum donors are asked to ‘gift-aid’ their donation so the museum can benefit from tax free cash and if anyone wants to add to the fund they can do so by contacting the treasurer, Mr John Daker, at the museum. Cheques should be made payable to Colne Valley Museum and sent to: Mr John Daker, Colne Valley Museum, Cliffe Ash, Golcar,Huddersfield. HD7 4PY.