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Downton Abbey star Brendan Coyle joins King’s Lynn Arts Centre supporters for celebration

PUBLISHED: 17:18 25 September 2011 | UPDATED: 17:29 25 September 2011

As part of the weekend's events to celebrate the inauguration of the King's Lynn Arts Centre Trust artist (R) Neil Pittaway hands over a piece of his work to Downton Abbey actor Brendan Coyle. Picture: Ian Burt

As part of the weekend's events to celebrate the inauguration of the King's Lynn Arts Centre Trust artist (R) Neil Pittaway hands over a piece of his work to Downton Abbey actor Brendan Coyle. Picture: Ian Burt

Archant © 2011

Supporters and trustees of the new trust set up to run King’s Lynn Arts Centre celebrated its new found independence today.

While the final paperwork has still not been completed, the Arts Centre staged a marathon of speakers, performers, artists and musicians over the weekend.

Liz Falconbridge - who was still arts manager with West Norfolk council but will shortly become chief executive of the new trust - said: “There’s just some more crossing the ‘t’s and dotting the ‘i’s to do, we’re on the cusp now.”

Members of the local arts community rallied round to save the centre when it was threatened with closure by council cash cuts.

The trust which will shortly take over the venue came about after West Norfolk council gave supporters the chance to prepare a business case to run the venue.

Addressing the 100 or so who turned out to a lunch at the Riverside Restaurant, council leader Nick Daubney said: “This trust is going places - I want to congratulate you all.”

The council has remained one of the trust’s main sponsors. Alan Taylor, chair of trustees, said: “Now everything’s in place we’re grateful for the council’s support and confidence in the trust.

“Although we’re at an embryonic stage, it feels like out of a little acorn a great oak’s going to grow.”

Tony Hall, vice-chair of trustees and chief executive of Freebridge Community Housing, said the two organisations were looking to work together, with Freebridge providing the trust with back office support, in return for community engagement activities.

Actor Brendan Coyle - better known as Mr Bates in hit costume drama Downton Abbey - was among guests at the launch.

My Coyle, who lives in Norfolk, is the trust’s performing arts patron.

“Every town and city needs somewhere like this place,” he said.

Exhibitions will be on show in the Fermoy Gallery, Shakespeare Barn, Red Barn and and Old Warehouse galleries until October 29.

They include The Bigger Picture - a major collaborative work produced by hundreds of Norfolk artists each completing a small section without knowing how the final overall picture will look.

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