Final push to buy nature reserve

This Is Wiltshire: A mile of coins lined up in aid of the appeal. From left, Jane Lane, Joyce Hamilton and Daniel A mile of coins lined up in aid of the appeal. From left, Jane Lane, Joyce Hamilton and Daniel

WITH just under 40 days to go, campaigners determined to save a nature reserve in Wroughton have launched a final push to raise the £5,500 needed to achieve their goal.

Kings Farm Wood was rescued from development in 2012 after parish councillors, Swindon Council and Wiltshire Wildlife Trust teamed up to buy the £180,000 woodland.

The local authority and trust pledged £100,000 and £50,000 each towards the purchase of the grounds and even fronted the parish council the remaining £30,000.

The parish now has until March 31 to repay the loan.

Villagers have pulled out all the stops since January, organising a Mile of Money event, coffee mornings and pub quiz nights in order to reach their £30,000 target. In under two months they raised more than £6,000 leaving just £5,500 to collect by the end of March.

Jane Lane, one of the leaders of the campaign, said the community’s generosity and willingness to support the fundraising appeal had been overwhelming.

She said: “People have really been pulling together. We have lots of different events. It’s been absolutely wonderful.

“People have picked up on what needed to be done and just ran with it. We are having quiz nights at pubs every Sunday and we had a Mile of Money event in January which raised £1,900 in two hours. “A lady donated a cheque for £1,000 on the day. It was just brilliant.

“We have got other things in the pipeline.”

Kings Farm Wood is a 45-acre wood that links the existing reserves of Clouts Wood and Markham Banks to the southern edge of Wroughton.

Once the loan is repaid, the wood will be owned jointly by Swindon Council and Wiltshire Wildlife Trust and managed by the trust on a 125-year lease.

If they miss the deadline, campaigners hope Swindon Council will allow them extra time to come up with the funds.

But Jane is confident the £5,500 will be found in time.

“I think we will get there,” she added. “Even if we are a bit short we will have had a good crack at it. “It really has been good for us as a community to do this. It will be something that we can look back on and think: ‘We did it’.

“We don’t know what’s going to happen if we don’t raise it by the end of March but we will just keep chugging away and see what happens.”

Fundraisers will organise a Bake Off on February 28 at the market by the Ellendune Centre from 9.15am.

A jumble sale will take place at Wroughton Parish Church hall on March 8, at a time to be confirmed.

A swishing party will take place on March 15 at the St Joseph’s Catholic Church Hall between 2pm and 4pm.

Donations can be made at the parish office. Cheques should be made payable to ‘Wiltshire Wildlife Trust’. Alternatively, donate online at www.wiltshirewildlife.org.

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