Fylde folk are being urged to demonstrate how much they love Lowther - by playing a key part in building an exciting future for one of the area’s prime attractions.
An appeal for funds towards the restoration of Lowther Pavilion and Gardens has been launched under the banner ‘Love Lowther’ - and Fylde’s tourism chief is hoping the entire community will rally round to get the project off to a flying start.
Theatres are closing all over the country and it is important we do everything we can to keep ours open and flourishing into the future
Comedian Bobby Ball, who lives in St Annes, has been appointed patron of the appeal and Coun Cheryl Little, chairman of Fylde Council’s tourism and leisure committee, said: “Lowther Pavilion and Gardens is a real jewel in Fylde’s crown and a real asset for the whole of the borough.
“Theatres are closing all over the country and it is important we do everything we can to keep ours open and flourishing into the future.”
Bobby said: “Lowther Pavilion is a wonderful theatre, and I am happy to do anything I can to help.”
Plans were unveiled earlier this year for a three-phase project intended to be complete in time for the venue’s centenary in 2021.
Total cost has been estimated at £5.25m and officials of the Lowther Trust, which manages the venue, are busy looking at funding sources.
But it is hoped work on the £1.5m first phase, incorporating a new glass atrium to the main entrance, with an open plan reception, information area and cafe bar,can get under way next summer in tandem with work on a new roof, which is already scheduled, with £123,000 in place.
Future phases include adding a second floor to the backstage areas to provide improved dressing room and shower facilities along with space for community workshops, and the ultimate goal is to add a studio theatre space at the rear of the building.
Work on the initial phase would entail the Pavilion theatre closing for three months and during that time, the hope is that new seating can be fitted.
Both that and the aim to etch a Band of Names onto the new atrium glass are seen as prime opportunities for community contributions.
Lowther general manager Roger McCann said: “The Lowther has always been at the heart of the community and we want the community to be at the heart of the fund-raising appeal.
“We have designed a number of ways in which people can contribute to the venue’s future.
“The Band of Names is intended to enshrine the community ownership of the venue by completely encircling it with names etched into the very fabric of the building.
“For the first phase of the building development we hope that 500 individuals, businesses, community groups, schools, church or social clubs will raise £1000 towards the appeal and have their contribution permanently recognised on the Band of Names.”
Sponsorship of £200 per seat will be acknowledged by a plaque on the seat for a period of 10 years. With 450 seats in the theatre, this would give a total of £90,000 towards the appeal if every seat were sponsored.
The appeal is being backed by Fylde MP Mark Menzies, who said: “The designs put forward for the new Lowther Pavilion are stunning and would make the building a real asset to Lytham.
“I am proud to have such a thriving community arts facility in Fylde and have been extremely impressed by the new plans and the enthusiasm of those involved.
“I’ll be doing what I can to encourage people to raise money.”
Details of how to contribute at www.lowtherpavilion.co.uk or from (01253) 794221.