[T]he 6-month fundraising campaign to raise funds for the reconnection of the Keswick to Threlkeld Railway Path is now complete and the Lake District Foundation are pleased to announce that a total of over £102,000 has been raised. Local businesses, organisations, and residents turned out to celebrate the fundraising success over a scone and a cup of tea on Thursday 5th July, at the Moot Hall, Keswick.
Sarah Swindley, director and the Lake District Foundation, thanked the community for their support: “It is testament to the amazing community spirit in Keswick that this much has been raised in such a short space of time. The energy and enthusiasm of residents and visitors who miss this path so much has been nothing short of inspirational. The Lake District Foundation is proud to have played our small part in this. We have made many friends and we look forward to working with you in the future as we find new ways to raise funds for the whole area.”
The campaign was supported by the local community, with businesses, residents, visitors and organisations all playing their part.
Donation boxes and campaign materials were displayed in 72 local businesses and many of these business carried out additional fundraising events including quiz nights, selling special products, and taking part in the K2T 5k challenge.
Chris Harper, Owner of Podgy Paws Pet Shop says; “When Jess from Cake & Salad and I put the call out locally we couldn’t believe how many businesses came forward to offer prizes. It was superb! And when we started selling tickets, again, we were blown away by the responses, as all the tickets were sold in a week. We were thrilled with how much was raised and quite simply, it was good old fashioned fun for a cause close to all our hearts.”
Community organisations also got involved, making donations and holding events, including a railway path walk by Braithwaite School which raised over £300 and a national fell running event hosted by Keswick Athletic Club which raised £1,250 from proceeds. On midsummers day, with the support of Keswick Scouts, Keswick Anglers, Keswick Lions, Keswick Town Council and the Love the Lakes shop, a duck race raised a further £1,300 for the campaign.
As part of the campaign The Lake District Foundation hosted its first ever charity auction night and raised over £8,600 from 40 lots. Local businesses and celebrities donated fantastic prizes including a day on the Lake District Fells with Alan Hinkes OBE; the first Briton to climb the world’s highest mountains, the fourteen 8,000m peaks. The Lodore Falls Hotel & Spa kindly donated the venue, canopies, reception drinks and £20 per booking to the campaign.
Members of the public could donate online, by cash, cheque, or Text Giving throughout the campaign and 6 local residents set up sponsored events of their own. Adam Bazire, owner of the Threlkeld Coffee Shop, has raised over £2,300 to date or his challenge to walk the full route of the old railway from Penrith station to the former Keswick station.
Mark Eccles, Head of Park Management at the Lake District National Park, also attended the celebration event and thanked everyone and announced the next steps.
Mark says: “I’d like to say a huge thank you to everyone who has contributed towards the terrific fundraising effort and for the Lake District Foundation for coordinating the campaign. Whether you’ve run 5k, stood on a street corner with a donation box or bought a duck in the river race, you should be proud to have played your part in helping reconnect the Keswick to Threlkeld Railway Path.”
“But it doesn’t stop here. We’re waiting to hear the results of a number of major funding bids, and are highly optimistic that we will secure the amount needed to be able to begin construction, subject to planning permission, later this year. If all goes to plan, we will be looking at a two year build phase, meaning this important route could be fully reconnected by 2020.”
The following next steps to reconnecting the Keswick to Threlkeld Railway Path were outlined at the celebration event as follows:
Extensive building, design and consent works, including:
- 5km trail
- re-opening and extending of ‘big tunnel’
- two new bridges
- extensive repair and improvement to one bridge
- 200m metres of new path
- extensive repairs to existing infrastructure (drains, walls, bridges and revetment walls)
- soft engineering providing river bank stabilisation.
Planning permission to be determined on 1 August 2018
Imminent tendering of work to identify and secure a contractor to build the Multi User Trail, taking up to 10 weeks
Construction will take up to two years and could start from November 2018