Volunteers grouped together to fundraise and support the major refit of Appledore library.

THE DOORS of Appledore library were officially declared open last week after a £50,000 refurbishment.

The ribbon was cut by Walter Fowler, who single-handedly raised more than £18,000 towards the project by selling second hand books.

The six-month makeover was carried out mainly by volunteers, and was funded largely by the Friends of Appledore Library (FOAL) led by children’s author Nick Arnold.

Mr Arnold said: “The library was in a bad way; it needed a lot of money and the council lack the funds for the work.

“FOAL offered to pay for the work and that’s how this project was born.

“It has been gutted back to stones and built back up again, and the feedback has been absolutely fantastic.”

The library now has a light and airy feel to it, with a more accessible entrance as well as heating and lighting provided by Devon Libraries.

There is also a first-floor events room, which has already attracted interest from local groups ranging from pilates classes to french-speaking groups.

Val Eastman, chairman of FOAL, said: “We are so grateful to everyone who has supported us and helped out, and for Robeda in Bideford who carried out a lot of the work; it was a big job.”

Cllr Jerry Brook, chairman of Devon County Council, said at the launch: “When you hear how this has been achieved, well, it really and truly is dedication.

“This is your project and your facility; no there are not doubts in my mind it will be a roaring success.”

The library will be open Tuesdays 10am-1pm; Wednesdays 2pm-5pm; Thursdays 10am-12pm and Saturdays 10am-12pm.