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Anonymous donor saves Ilfracombe Victorian Celebrations

08:29 20 March 2014


Ilfracombe's Victorians - both the British and American West versions - will be able to return as planned this June thanks to a timely donation.


Generous gift of £1,000 enables organisers to go ahead more or less as planned after facing a funding crisis.

ILFRACOMBE’S Victorian week will be able to go ahead as planned thanks to a £1,000 donation from an anonymous donor.

Organisers were contemplating cutting events from the schedule for the June 7 to 15 Victorian Celebration after learning their grant funding had been reduced.

Two years ago Ilfracombe Town Council was able to donate £2,000 to the week long tribute to the town’s heritage, but this year it was down to £200.

Victorian committee chairman Carol Slinn said they were faced with the prospect of reducing the festival dramatically as they simply didn’t have the money to stage the usual busy programme of events.

“Everyone is feeling the pinch at the moment, and as a result donations have been significantly less than in previous years,” she said.

As it is, the normal Grand Firework Display at the end of the week has had to be cancelled, but the main celebrations can go ahead thanks to the generosity of a local.

“It was during a conversation with this person I happened to mention the grant being reduced so much,” added Carol

“A few days later, much to my surprise and delight, a cheque for £1,000 appeared.

“As a result, we will be able to run events we have planned for this year’s festival. It’s absolutely wonderful to be able to do this, as we have a fun and varied programme, which we hope has something for everyone.”

Ilfracombe Mayor, Councillor Lynda Courtnadge, said the town council was sympathetic to all the deserving organisations who were disappointed not to receive the grants they had applied for.

“We carefully considered each application on its merits, taking into account how much they have previously received, how they raise funds themselves, their accounts, and the fairest distribution of available funds,” she said.

“I’m delightful to hear the Victorian Society has received a generous donation from a private benefactor, and I wish them another successful year.”

Returning to the event this year will be Mr Alexander and his traditional variety show, a firm favourite with children and adults alike.

Elegant tea parties are scheduled, as well as concerts, plays and the annual parades. The cowboys of the Boots ‘n’ Saddles Club will be back, and they’re opening up their living history Western Encampment to visitors.

For the first time Steampunk will feature, with visiting groups bringing their unique collision of science fiction and history to town.

Anyone who would like to find out more about this year’s Victorian Celebration, or is interested in getting involved on any level can call Carol Slinn on 01271 862378 or 07544 529787.


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