DOWLISH Wake Pavilion is set to rise from the ashes in 2017 after committee members raised £20,000 following a devastating fire which destroyed the building.

The pavilion went up in flames in a suspected arson attack on October 13, gutting the whole of the building.

But since then, the committee has rallied round and instantly launched a community appeal.

Mike Lane, chairman of the Lawrence Kellett Playing Field Trust, said: “The remains of the pavilion were demolished in October, and the site is now clear.

“This was done by a team of local volunteers led by Mario Ruiz, and their hard work and professionalism saved a lot of money.”

“We have now approved a plan for the new pavilion. This has been shown to the community at a village meeting, and we have taken on board the many suggestions and improvements.

“We have had a very positive response to the plan, and it is now in the process of being put forward to planning.

“I’d like to thank everyone who has contributed so generously to the appeal. I’d especially like to thank Nicky and Rich of the New Inn who have been so generous, and also made the New Inn our unofficial base, and also Speke Hall who have lent us the hall for free on a number of occasions.

“We had a very successful Beetle Drive in October, and two pub nights in November. But our main source of funds has been individual donations, both large and small. We are so appreciative of the generosity of the community.

“Our first fighting-fund target of £20,000 has been raised and is in our bank. We will shortly update the progress display in the New Inn to now show a target of £40,000 and the fact we are half way there.”

The group has a number of plans to raise the second half of the money, including two major fundraisers later this year.

Mr Lane added: “We have identified three likely organisations for grant applications and much of the preliminary work is under way, but we cannot finalise them until we have a number of firm quotations. When we do all three applications will go out very soon after, and we expect some significant funds from this source.”

“We have two major fundraisers planned this year, including a World War II themed event at the Playing Field in July, with an apt name of ‘Blitz Spirit.

“But firstly we have our grand fundraising Phoenix Ball at the Shrubbery Hotel on February 24. All are welcome, and tickets cost £35 to include a welcome drink and three-course meal. We have a grand auction and raffle, and dancing to the wonderful Soulville Express.”

Tickets are available from the Shrubbery, or from Mike Lane on 01460 250726.