Major donation to St Albans museum in support of building transformation
PUBLISHED: 06:00 11 October 2016
Danny Loo Photography 2016
A hat-trick of major donations has boosted fundraising efforts for the ambitious £7.75 million St Albans Museum and Gallery to be built at the landmark Town Hall.
Following a plea from a local charity, the St Albans Museums and Galleries Trust, £200,000 has recently been donated in support of the transformation of the Grade II* listed building into a major tourist draw.
Among those boosting fundraising coffers was the John Apthorp Charity, of Radlett, and the Kirby Laing Foundation, of Mill Hill, north London.
Dennis Goldsmith, a director of roofing contractors MH Goldsmith & Sons, of Knebworth, handed over a cheque for £5,000 and said: “We are a local company that employs local people. This is our way of giving something to the community. We are very proud to be supporting the new museum and gallery and I hope my donation will encourage more local businesses to step forward.”
Meanwhile, a dinner held at Sopwell House Hotel raised £71,000.
TV comedian and actor Hugh Dennis, star of BBC sitcom Outnumbered and Mock the Week, was a special guest at the event which included an auction in aid of the museum project.
Among the lots was a private tour of the House of Commons, donated by St Albans MP Anne Main, and a luxury week’s stay at a hotel in Marbella.
Charity trustee and the district council’s portfolio holder for leisure and heritage, Cllr Annie Brewster, said: “The amount raised of over £71,000 is astonishing and is a tremendous boost to our fundraising appeal.”
Trust chairman Mike Gray said he was pleased that the hotel “chose to support us” with a fundraising gala for the heritage project.
The Town Hall is being converted into a state-of-the-art museum and gallery which is due to open in early 2018.
Less than £1 million now needs to be raised from the community for the project, which includes glass wings creating a walkway around the east and west sides offering a new view over the city centre and cathedral, and a revamped entrance.