DOWLISH Wake’s destroyed pavilion is set to rise from the ashes after fundraising efforts got off to a flying start.

The Lawrence Kellett pavilion was destroyed in a suspected arson attack on October 13, but since then a number of generous donations have been made to Project Phoenix.

Mike Lane, chairman of Lawrence Kellett Playing Field Trust, said: “We have been very fortunate the fundraising for our fighting fund has started brilliantly.

“We have received two separate anonymous donations from local people of £5,000 each, plus a donation from one of the trustees’ family of £2,000. We are so grateful.

“I was shopping in Ilminster earlier in the week, and every shopkeeper sympathised, and asked me how things were going. Home Hardware is donating funds from a bake-off, and some Ilminster residents are looking at fundraising in other ways. All this support for our village is overwhelming.

“We have received a donation from Barbara Green of £500, in memory of dear Mollie Blowers.

“Equally importantly, we have received many smaller donations, all of which are so crucial. The total stands today at £13,220, which is well on the way towards our initial target of £20,000.”

Demolition and clearance of the old pavilion’s ruins is set to begin at the start of next week. This week will also see the first in a number of fundraising events organised in Dowlish Wake.

Two pub nights at Speke Hall are being held, this Friday and next from 6pm. The trust are asking for a donation of £5 entry to go to the appeal, including light snacks.

Mr Lane added: “We will be holding a black tie dinner and dance in aid of the appeal at the Shrubbery Hotel on February 24.

“This promises to be a wonderful evening, when we can all enjoy ourselves. We have booked a great band, Soulville Express. They should make the evening go with a swing.

“Before the fire the trust had agreed a date of the July 8 for our bi-annual headliner event at the playing field. We have decided not to let recent events stop us, and I can confirm that it will be a 1940s themed evening. We will keep calm and carry on and mend and make do.”

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