Pirates raise pieces of eight to help with Maltings revamp

Shiver me timbers! The pirates are coming.

Salty sea dogs, scurvy mates, smugglers and scoundrels are being invited to dust off their eye patches and preen their parrots as Wells is to hold its first pirate festival.

The three-day festival will run from September 16 to September 18 and is being held to raise money for a major redevelopment of The Maltings and Sackhouse buildings in Wells.

It kicks off with a smugglers' ball at The Maltings with a pirate band, The Dog Days of Summer, cocktails and a gaming den.

The festival will also feature showings of three pirate films, The Crimson Pirate, Muppets Treasure Island and Hook, at The Granary Theatre, a pirate market, fun games, a car boot sale, a tug of war, a boat trip to the secret pirate island, a pirate pub crawl and a guided walk with true tales of local smugglers from Wells.

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Becky Jefcoate, development manager for The Wells Maltings Project, said: 'Everyone loves pirates and we've made sure that there will be lots of things for both adults and children to enjoy.

'I thought this would be a good way to raise the profile of the Wells Maltings Project and to get the community involved in it.

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'If it goes well then we could make it an annual event in Wells.'

An estimated �5 million is needed for the Wells Maltings Project and it is expected to take approximately five years to complete.

The creation of a museum, a major expansion of The Granary Theatre, a new caf�, a tourist information office and youth facilities are all included in the plans. Miss Jefcoate said: 'The project is going well but it will take time. We have raised about �200,000 so far and have lots of grant applications sent off.

'I should know by December if we have been successful in our application for A Heritage Lottery grant for �1 million, which would be a major boost to the project.'

Tickets for the smugglers' ball are now on sale for �13 and can be booked by calling 01328 839000.

Miss Jefcoate is also looking for people to sponsor the festival. For more information call 01328 839000.

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