HALSWAY Manor chairman Robin Williams and his wife Marian have kicked-off a fundraising appeal to help raise money for the centre’s future plans.

They were given the green light by planners for a £4million expansion earlier this year.

It will see the development of facilities to make it the ‘best national centre for folk arts in the country’.

As well as restoring the historic manor, a timber-framed activity centre will be created along with a new performance space.

The aim is to conserve the heritage of the manor, and make the site more accessible for people of all ages and abilities to participate in a wide range of folk art activities.

Robin and Marian started a cycle challenge from Land’s End to John O’Groats, calling at Halsway Manor last week.

More than £3,000 has already been pledged by individuals, groups and local businesses.

Robin, 70, said: “It’s all going really well so far. “We’ve cycled long-distances before and my wife has always wanted to cycle from Land’s End to John O’Groats.

“As the chairman of Halsway, I wanted to do something to help raise money for our plans.

“We have our golden jubilee coming up next year and this is an exciting time for us.”

It is hoped that the first phase of the project, the activity centre, will be completed within 18 months.

Robin added: “I really want to help raise the profile of Halsway and of folk music. “I also wanted to show our members and everyone who sponsors Halsway that we’re keen to get this project underway. 

"As the chairman, I think that it is important to do my bit.

“Folk is something many people enjoy, but don’t realise how big a part of English heritage it is.

“We want people to come and not just learn something but to enjoy what we as a centre have to offer.”

For more information about Halsway Manor’s development plan, ‘Our Future’, visit www.halswaymanorourfuture.org.uk

To sponsor Robin and Marian www.virginmoneygiving.com/LEHM-JOG