The Plough Arts Centre in Torrington has announced an emphatic ‘we’ll be back!’ after a successful fundraiser for urgently needed cash.

A Plough benefactor donated £1,000 in return for three toilet rolls and a bottle of champagne signed by Boris Johnson - but donated the champers back to the venue. He kept the toilet rolls.A Plough benefactor donated £1,000 in return for three toilet rolls and a bottle of champagne signed by Boris Johnson - but donated the champers back to the venue. He kept the toilet rolls.

The Power the Plough appeal has now raised £54,000 of its £55,000 target thanks to a huge community response.

Sadly, just as the total was reached, the venue regretfully announced it would have to close for the foreseeable future due to the coronavirus, but everyone at The Plough is determined it will be back when the crisis is past.

Plough director Richard Wolfenden-Brown said: “The people of North Devon have been absolutely amazing!

“We have been astonished (and humbled) by their generosity and the passionate support they have demonstrated for the survival of The Plough Arts Centre, particularly at this time of national emergency. Our trustees, staff, volunteers and supporters owe a very big ‘thank you’ to all who have contributed.”

At the end of January the venue was facing closure unless £30,000 could be found to plug an immediate gap in its finances and the groundwork laid to bring in future funding.

The appeal went out and one of The Plough’s charity trustees, Hugh Wormington, set up an online crowdfunder that raised £30,000 of the total. He said: “This was a stunning community effort and achieved with such speed.

“One very generous person happily paid £1,000 to receive a reward of a bottle of champagne signed by the Prime Minister plus a bonus of three toilet rolls. He then accepted the toilet rolls but kindly declined the champagne so that it can be used at a future Plough auction.”

There has also been official help, with Torridge District Council voting to invest £25,000 in the Plough for 2020/21 and look at providing three year funding.

The Town Lands Charity, owners of The Plough building, agreed to invest £10,000 towards the venue’s buildings costs for 2020/21, Torrington Town Council is increasing its grant to £10,000 and Devon County councillors have contributed £3,600.

North Devon Council will consider a request for support and Buckland Brewer Parish Council donated £200.

Mr Wolfenden-Brown said: “When the current national emergency is over, people will want to gather together again and to celebrate the things that make life worth living and that includes arts and culture which bind our communities together.

“As the posters say across the front of our building – ‘We Will Be Back’!”