BISHOP’S MEADOW TRUST CELEBRATES AT A LUNCH HOSTED BY SIR RAY TINDLE.
July 16th 2012 was a new red letter day for the Farnham calendar as it marked the date on which The Bishop’s Meadow Trust became the owner of a further 12 acres of meadows by the River Wey, making its holding in all about 30 acres.
The remarkable achievement came just two-and-a-half years after the land was put up for sale by the Marshall family.
The final purchase was made possible by the timely intervention of the Farnham Building Preservation Trust, who were able to offer Bishop’s Meadow Trust a loan for the amount required for the final purchase, on very favourable terms.
The Trust has now amended its articles of association to extend its remit to include purchase of land. However, pending this change being made, the Farnham Trust recognised the importance of the Bishop’s Meadow, as open space of historic significance, at the heart of Farnham and offered the loan to The Bishop’s Meadow Trust to enable it to secure the final piece of land.
“The campaign to raise we money to purchase tile meadows has been remarkable” said Jo Aylwin, chairman of the Bishop’s Meadow Trust.
“The Bishop’s Meadow Trust was formed by the passion of a few people, worried about what wouold happen to the meadows if they were sold. Our concerns were picked up by The Farnham Society who, with great efficiency, called a public meeting to test public opinion.
“The outcome of that meeting was that there was wider concern and people were happy to pledge money to the BMT with a view of it being able to purchase the land.
“We could not, however, raise sufficient in the time allowed to prevent the sale taking place.
“Our next lucky intervention came from Sir Ray Tindle, who stepped forward and offered to purchase the land outright in order to give the BMT time to raise the money needed.
“Both Sir Ray personally and The Farnham Herald as a company have made substantial contributions towards the purchase, over and above what was effectively an interest-free loan for two-and-a-half years.
“To have then had substantial support from the Farnham Trust to enable the purchase to be completed is fantastic. It says a lot for this town that this land has been purchased by the combined efforts of over 600 private individuals, giving donations between £1 and £25,000, the support of The Farnham Herald, and co-operation and support from both The Farnham Society and Farnham Trust.” The good news is that the purchase was completed in July 2012 with the aid of a £75,000 loan from the Farnham Building Preservation Trust.
The Bishop’s Meadow Trust is a registered charity. It will have to continue fund raising and welcomes new members who would like to donate and be involved. For further information see www.bishopsmeadowtrust.org.