Funding hopes to preserve town heritage

By Sue Cooper

Well it’s in! After months in the preparation, the trustees have submitted our application to Heritage Lottery Fund for the funds to complete our redevelopment project. It comprised hundreds of pages and we couldn’t have done it without our two consultants who have given us far more than we, and probably they, could have expected.

NMAM Wirksworth festival Art & Architecture Trail Blind Badger, toe Tapping tunes from Britain and America Brushed with a Folkified Vibe. L>R Gabe Thornton, Elaine Dennison, Pete Bishop

However it is too early to raise a glass to Jim Oribine and Lucy Godfrey as we must now wait until January before we know if we have been successful. There again, perhaps we should just raise that glass anyway! We have come a long way since we first asked for the views of the town’s residents on the sort of heritage centre they wanted and whatever happens now we have given it our best shot.

We all feel we deserve success in turning Mrs Webster’s building into the heritage centre and community hub that Wirksworth deserves. Assuming that we do win the award, we still have to raise our own share of the project cost before we can go ahead. When my husband and I first fell in love with Wirksworth, the icing on the cake was the fantastic atmosphere generated by the two weeks of art, music and drama of Wirksworth Festival – the like of which we had not seen before.

It is the biggest event of the year for the town and kicks off with the Art and Architecture Trail on September 10 and 11. The heritage centre will again be an arts venue that weekend so we are currently in the throes of reorganising Webster’s to accommodate the pen and ink drawings of Peter Wheatcroft. His cityscapes should look all the more futuristic in our olde-worlde beamed surroundings. Joan, our renowned cakemaker, will be head-down in her kitchen and it will be all hands to the pumps all weekend to staff the art display, the shop and the courtyard café. We can only hope the weather is good and that there are plenty of visitors with deep pockets and a need to rest their legs and enjoy some fine refreshment,