An ambitious campaign launched by Bradgate Park Trust to restore Old John Tower has had an overwhelming response from local businesses and residents, reaching its two-month target of £30,000 within two weeks of launch.
Fundamental to its success is the well-known Leicestershire business, Marks Electrical, which has donated £20,000 to save the landmark tower from ruin.
Picture: Bradgate Park Trust
Organised by the Trust, the restoration project is already underway in the hope of completing the initial work by Christmas. Significant structural damage has been identified and subsequently repaired on the upper parts of the tower, but this has taken longer than anticipated.
James Dymond, Director of Bradgate Park Trust, said: “When Marks Electrical first got in touch we were astounded and relieved at the same time.
“This iconic landmark deserves to continue to stand tall, overlooking the Leicestershire skyline and providing memorable moments for generations to come.
“Thanks to the generous donation from Marks Electrical, combined with the support of other local businesses and residents, we will be able to ensure this fragile piece of architecture lives on.
“I’d like to express my heartfelt thanks to everybody who has donated to the Trust – we are extremely happy to have achieved the initial fundraising target for this project in such a short space of time. We are excited for the next steps and seeing what the future holds for this monumental tower.”
Alongside the Marks Electrical donation and the initial £10,000 from Bradgate Park Trust reserves, Anstey and District Funeral Services have donated £1,000 and public donations have amounted to £4,100, bringing the project fund total to £35,100.
Mark Smithson, founder of Marks Electrical, said: “As a proud Leicestershire business for over 36 years, we are delighted to contribute towards the restoration of this historic landmark.
“We can see the work is already underway and we look forward to seeing the development of the restoration project over the coming weeks and months.”
While the mild weather continues, work on the tower will now move onto the lower layers which suits traditional lime mortar. It is hoped that by raising funds beyond the initial target, the Trust will now be able to look at any additional incurred repairs as well as some possible improvements to interior decoration.
Nick Rushton, Chair of Bradgate Park Trust, said: “We hoped that our call to the people of Leicestershire to support this project would have a resounding response – and it has.
“I’d like to thank everyone for getting behind the project to give this integral piece of Bradgate’s history the chance to live on and stand proud for many more years to come.”
Having achieved its initial project target, the Trust has expressed a wish that any further donations will now be directed towards conservation and maintenance of the park.
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