Three days to save a Cumbrian fell - radio star Maconie joins call for donations

The Westmorland Gazette: Eycott Hill, photo by John Morrison Eycott Hill, photo by John Morrison

STUART Maconie has joined forces with Cumbria Wildlife Trust to help try and raise £37,000 towards the purchase of a Cumbrian fell.

The broadcaster, writer and Lake District hillwalker, wants people to help Cumbria Wildlife Trust to raise money to buy Eycott Hill near Penrith, so it can be restored for wildlife and improved for walkers.

He and Cumbria Wildlife Trust are calling on people to make their donations when a website opens for contributions tomorrow and also on Friday December 6 and Saturday 7.

It is part of the 'Big Give' Christmas Challenge.

If £18,500 is raised online over the three days, Cumbria Wildlife Trust will get a further £18,500 from pledges from 16 supporters and an anonymous Big Give supporter.

Donations have to be made on 5th, 6th or 7th at www.thebiggive.org.uk

Mr Maconie said: “Eycott Hill is right on my doorstep in Cumbria and is, I've always thought, a perfect example of the Lake District in miniature, a beautiful, rugged hill in some of North Cumbria's grandest and most unspoiled landscapes, nestling between the Pennines and the Back O'Skiddaw fells.

"But it has always been a difficult place to explore with little or no access to the footpaths that criss cross it. I fully support Cumbria Wildlife Trust in their bid to acquire it, to make it more accessible to all visitors while preserving its unique character and the wildlife and vegetation it has in such abundance.”

Cumbria Wildlife Trust said the hill was identified four years ago as a potential new nature reserve as it ticks all the boxes - rare species and habitats, restoration opportunities and a central location.

Cumbria Wildlife Trust based near Kendal, said the then sale price of £968,000 made the opportunity seem impossible until Esmée Fairbairn Finance Fund offered to purchase the land on its behalf.

The trust now has until the end of 2014 to raise the remaining finance to honour the payment or Eycott Hill will be sold on the open market.

Michelle Waller, development officer for Cumbria Wildlife Trust, said: “The website will open for donations at 10am on Thursday 5th, Friday 6th and Saturday 7th December but there is a challenge factor."

"Each day is limited and lots of charities are involved, so please donate as early in the day as possible, ideally at 10am. It’s a great way to make your donation worth twice as much and for you to make a real difference for local nature.”

 

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