Movie lovers' show of faith in new St Albans cinema

PUBLISHED: 08:43 10 December 2009 | UPDATED: 14:44 06 May 2010

IF film fans honour their paper pledges the big screen dream for St Albans is well on the way to coming true. More than 80 per cent of the £1 million needed by January to secure the purchase of the art deco Odeon building in London has been promised on e

IF film fans honour their paper pledges the big screen dream for St Albans is well on the way to coming true.

More than 80 per cent of the £1 million needed by January to secure the purchase of the art deco Odeon building in London has been promised on 'expression of interest' forms.

They were filled in by hundreds of people who attended last month's public meeting held by the man behind the scheme, James Hannaway, at the Rex Cinema in Berkhamsted, the first cinema he restored.

The plan to restore the Odeon hinges upon his ability to find £3 million to fund the purchase and the refurbishment of the building. But it was revealed at that meeting that he only needed £1 million by January to proceed with the exchange of contracts on the purchase price.

The remainder could be raised as and when over the next two years while the building work proceeded.

More than 600 people at the meeting filled in the forms offering various kinds of financial help. It could be done in five different ways - through investment as shareholders, through loans, donations, sponsorship of chairs or by buying advance memberships of £285 each.

The result was that 419 wanted to buy memberships which would bring in almost £120,000.

169 wanted to make loans at a minimum of £1,000 each which would bring in at least £169,000, 110 wanted to sponsor chairs at £1,000 each which would bring in £110,000, 217 wanted to invest in shares offered at a minimum purchase of £2,500 each bringing in at least £542,500 and a further 133 people were interested in making donations but no figure can be attached to that at the moment..

The pledges already total around £830,000 excluding donations.

Mr Hannaway said: "These figures lift our spirits. Some people have sent cheques already but we can't accept payment at this stage. These figures are purely a show of interest. Nothing can be assumed to be definite until we have presented everyone with full details of the likely benefit of each category. We will be sending out this information before the weekend."

If you didn't attend the meeting but would like to fill in an "expression of interest" form you can access it on http://www.allaboutstalbans.net/cinema/odeon_form.aspx

If you complete the form online the website administrators will collect and collate the data for Mr Hannaway on a weekly basis to speed up the process.


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