Future of ‘beautiful community retreat’ saved after £50,000 fundraising success
- Credit: Nick Butcher
After a five-year fundraising plea, a town’s community are celebrating after “saving” a treasured site.
Since Falcon Meadow was put up for sale in 2015, residents of Bungay have attempted to raise £50,000 to stop the site falling into private hands, drinking “enough tea and coffee to fill a swimming pool” in the process.
Desperate to keep the site as a community asset, a charity was created to loan the funds to buy the site, meaning although the short-term future was guaranteed, £43,000 of loans needed to be repaid.
Allan Myatt, treasurer for the Falcon Meadow Community Trust, said: “After the initial euphoria died away in 2015, we realised we had a daunting task ahead of us. We had to find ways to raise £43,000 and keep the meadow in the public eye for long enough to do so.
“Luckily, local people stepped up to the plate and we’ve smashed our fundraising target in a fraction of the time we thought it would take.
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“It’s particularly good to reach the £50,000 mark this year when we could all do with a bit of good news.
“Over the last five years, we estimate we’ve sold in excess of a thousand flapjacks, drunk enough tea and coffee to fill a swimming pool and raced thousands of ducks down the River Waveney, all for the cause.
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“We’ve had dog shows, pub quizzes, sleep outs, nature days - we’ve stood in freezing cold weather to get people to buy raffle tickets and we triumphed this year with a virtual duck race which has been watched in countries around the world.
“Time and time again, local people have come up trumps and shown their support, and it’s because of them that we’re here today.”
Earlier this year, organisers took the ever-popular Bungay Duck Race online in a bid to continue raising money, despite the coronavirus lockdown.
Aiming to maintain the meadow as a “beautiful retreat for people and nature”, trustee Katie Utting said: “In the time we’ve been managing the meadow, we have started to see some real gains in terms of wildflowers, insects and wildlife.
“Now we can concentrate our energies on preserving this rare habitat so nature can thrive.
“We know the community will continue to support us every step of the way.”