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Final Purchase of the Meadows

July 19, 2012

The following has just been released to local newspapers.

Press release for Bishops Meadow Trust (BMT), F(BP)T and Sir Ray Tindl

Celebrations as Meadows bring together community interests!

16th July is a new key date for the Farnham calendar! It marks the date on which The Bishop’s Meadow Trust becomes the owner of a further 12 acres of meadows by the River Wey, making its holding in all about 30 acres. This remarkable achievement comes just two and a half years after the land was put up for sale by the Marshall family. The final purchase was made possible by the timely intervention of Farnham (Building Preservation) Trust, who offered Bishop’s Meadow Trust a loan for the amount required for the final purchase, on very favourable terms.

Farnham (Building Preservation) Trust (or Farnham Preservation Trust)  was founded by Sir John Verney, Bt., and Richard Dufty CBE, DLitt, FSA, to preserve buildings of  historical, architectural and constructional heritage for the benefit of the local community in Farnham and West Surrey.  It has done this over many years, saving both domestic and commercial buildings. The Trust most recently rescued the Wrecclesham Pottery (sold just this year). It has also contributed towards the original purchase and restoration of Farnham Maltings and contributed towards the restoration of Farnham Castle.

The Farnham Preservation Trust is in the process of amending its articles of association to extend its remit to include purchase of land. However, pending this change being made the Trust recognised the importance of the Bishop’s Meadow as open space of historic significance at the heart of Farnham and offered the loan to The Bishop’s Meadow Trust to enable it to secure the final piece of land.

“The campaign to raise the money to purchase the meadows has been remarkable” said Jo Aylwin, Chair of the Bishop’s Meadow Trust. “The Bishop’s Meadow Trust was formed by the passion of a few people, worried about what would happen to the meadows if they were sold. Our concerns were picked up by The Farnham Society who, with great efficiency, called a public meeting to test public opinion. The outcome of that meeting was that there was wider concern and people were happy to pledge money to the BMT with a view of it being able to purchase the land. Our next lucky intervention came from Sir Ray Tindle, who stepped forward and offered to purchase the land outright in order to give the BMT time to raise the money needed.  Both Sir Ray personally and The Farnham Herald  as a company have made substantial contributions towards the purchase, over and above what was effectively an  interest free loan for two and a half years. To have then had substantial support from F(BP)T to enable the purchase to be completed is fantastic. It says a lot for this town  that this land has been purchased by the combined  efforts of over 600 private individuals, giving donations between £1 and £25,000, the support of The Farnham Herald, and co-operation and support from both The Farnham Society and Farnham (Building Preservation) Trust.”

The Bishop’s Meadow Trust is a registered charity. It will have to continue fund raising and welcomes new members who would like to donate and be involved.  For further information please see http://www.bishopsmeadowtrust.org

Release ends.

This is a fantastic achievement coming as it does so soon after the Trust received a national award from the Open Spaces Society.  We still need funds both for maintenance and restoration work and to meet the cost of the loan. Let’s all see what we can do to finish the job we began at that meeting in St Andrews  two and half years ago.

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