Wisbech Institute needs more help to survive, says Friends group

A CAMPAIGN to restore the historic Wisbech Institute to its former glory has raised thousands of pounds - but desperately needs more if the iconic building is to survive.

Renovation work is continuing to open the front of the ground floor and the Hill Street entrance after a Friends group established to fight for its survival raised approximately �8,000 to keep the 19th Century building going.

The cash has helped to pay for a new heating system for the tower ballroom and reception areas as well as refurbished toilets.

However with full repair costs expected be more than �1 million, Friends chairman John Smith said: “The Institute desperately needs financial support now if it is to survive.

“Your help could be crucial. The Institute has got a huge place in Wisbech’s social history and the number of members it has had over the years shows its importance in the town.”

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The building was a venue to a wide selection of clubs, as well as a library and reading room, in the early part of the last century but started to deteriorate after the Second World War,

Today’s Friends group has attracted 579 members to its cause but is encouraging more people to join by offering them life membership for �100.

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A packed programme of autumn events including talks by a former James Bond stunt double and Jon Baker, curator of the Airborne Forces Museum, who will tell stories of the Bruneval raid, are also being held to help the group eke closer to its fundraising targets.

In December Ann Purt will demonstrate floral arrangements suitable for Christmas, while members will also make visits to Cross Keys Bridge, in Sutton Bridge, and airport luggage handling equipment manufacturer Herbert’s.

For more information about the Friends of the Institute, call John Smith on 07776 322129.

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