Fylde Soroptimists make £100,000 donation at Susie Dent sellout show to building of new education centre at Lytham's Lowther Pavilion

Fylde Soroptimists have provided a major boost to the new Education Centre and Studio currently being built at Lytham’s Lowther Pavilion with a £100,000 donation.

By Tony Durkin
Wednesday, 8th June 2022, 12:30 pm
Updated Thursday, 9th June 2022, 4:18 pm

A cheque for the bumper amount was ceremonially handed over on behalf of the Soroptimists by TV Countdown star Susie Dent at her sold out performance at Lowther – to the delight of officials at the West Beach theatre.

The Education Centre and Studio has been in planning since before the pandemic, with the foundations beginning last November when TV presenter and former politician Michael Portillo put the spade in the soil.

Since then the foundations for the building have been completed and the Lowther Gardens (Lytham) Trust has embarked on a fundraising appeal to complete the £1 million-plus new building, which is part of a wider £6.7m intended three-phase modernisation of the venue.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

Artist's impression of how the studio and education centre at Lowther Pavilion will look

Read More

Read More
Michael Portillo ceremony signals new era at Lowther Pavilion

Fylde Soroptimists formed a charity to benefit local causes around a decade ago following the sale of a property in St Annes it used as accommodation for retired women of limited means and its biggest donation so far was around £130,000 to the building of the Eco-Pod at Lytham’s Park View 4U playing fields.

Tim Lince, Lowther Pavilion’s chief executive and artistic director, said: “It’s such a major contribution to the £1.7m that is required to complete the Education Centre and Studio Theatre”

“Our hope is to have the building ready to open in late April next year, with a dynamic programme of creative workshops, schools support work, children’s holiday activities, apprenticeships and training in technical and Arts based skills, a home for the ever expanding Lowther Youth Theatre, afternoon cinema and evening use by local community and amateur theatre groups.

Michael Portillo ceremonially signals the start of work on the foundations of the new building, watched by Lowther chief executive Tim Lince and trustees Teresa Mallabone and Rosie Withers.

"This new building will deliver a major contribution to the cultural life and wellbeing of residents from the Fylde region. We would all just to say a big thank you to the Soroptimists for sharing our vision in this way.”

"When Susie Dent heard of the plans for the donation she was more than happy to lend her support and build the cheque donation into her performance.

An audience of 450 were able to witness this amazing act of generosity, joining Trustees and Soroptimist representatives in the presentation.”

Linda Beddows, who chairs Fylde Soroptimists and was awarded the MBE in 2011 for her service to the community, said: “We are delighted to make this donation. Lowther Pavilion is a key feature of the Lytham community and the Studio and Education Centre will be an important new asset. We look forward to it opening.”

The site of the Lowther studio with the foundations having been completed

The 150-seat studio is intended to be a community hub for Lowther’s Youth Theatre and Young Creatives programme, with the facilities set to appeal across the North West region.

It’s envisaged as the first step towards a total new look for Fylde’s only theatre, which was first mooted some six years ago - with two future phases planned to include a new foyer, rooftop restaurant, cafe, offices, community rooms and full disability access.

Fund-raising, via grant applications and the Love Lowther appeal, continues for the remainder.

Michael Portillo, on ceremonially signalling the start of work, said: “Local theatres are vital to any community and even more so it is important to encourage and develop the performers of the future, especially after the tough times of the last couple of years.”

The £100,000 cheque is presented to Lowther Trust officials by members of Fylde Soroptimists at Susie Dent's sellout show.