Open days boost historic lighthouse’s fundraising campaign

The owner of an iconic lighthouse in the Fens has hailed a series of fundraising open days at his site as a huge success.

Sutton Bridge's East Lighthouse was opened to the public every weekend in August by owners Doug and Sue Hilton to allow the public to view the former home of the founding father of global conservation, Sir Peter Scott.

Around 600 people visited the lighthouse, which stands at the mouth of the River Nene looking out on to the Wash, over the month and �1,500 was raised for a visitor centre and museum to be built on the site.

Mr Hilton said: 'The open days saw lots of really interesting people come along and we received lots of offers of help for the future and reminiscences from the past that we still have to catch up on.

'People came from Wisbech, King's Lynn and beyond to visit the lighthouse and there were even three people who travelled more than 150 miles to get here.

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'What was particularly thrilling for us was that the age ranges were right across the board and as hoped, with this inspirational place, the reasons for visiting were right varied too.

'Some came because they had always been fascinated by the lighthouse and now had a chance to see it up close while others came because of the fact the Snow Goose story was based here.

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'But many came because of the Peter Scott link to the lighthouse.

'People told me that to be able to stand in the very building where he came as a wildfowler but left as a famous artist, author and a man who later developed the world's first wildlife conservation organisation, the World Wildlife Fund, was something of a lifetime special moment for them.'

He added: 'We would like to thank all the volunteers that helped make it possible for us to open the lighthouse.'

The couple secured planning planning last month for a visitor centre and a museum on the site which will be dedicated to Sir Peter Scott, who lived in the lighthouse from 1933 to 1939.

But Mr Hilton has said they need around �280,000 for all the building works.

He continued: 'Most people probably assume that with planning permission things simply flow into completion but a project like this has many separate stages to travel before it hits the ground.

'One of the main items is of course funding. To this end, the Snowgoose Wildlife Trust is being formed into a registered charitable company and open up the potential grants markets that have previously been closed to us.

'In the meantime we are also building a website, working hard on the next stages and examining where possible grants might be available.'

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