A crew of fundraisers from Portling in Dumfries & Galloway handed over a cheque for £1,000 to the Peter Pan Moat Brae Trust this week in support of the Appeal to create a National Centre for Children’s Literature and Storytelling at Moat Brae – the Birthplace of Peter Pan.

The funds were raised at a fabulous Neverland Supper in Colvend Village Hall in June organised by Anne Bennett and her team of friends and family. The event was very well attended and featured entertainment by Birchvale Youth Theatre, a three course dinner provided by a family friend and owner of Moira Jane’s Restaurant in Glasgow, puddings donated by Peter Pan’s friends and a bar manned by pirates who made a good profit.

This is the third year Anne and her friends have organised a ‘Peter Pan-themed’ event to support Moat Brae and it has been her most successful yet. As a Great, Great Niece of J.M. Barrie, author of Peter Pan, Anne has a special connection to the place that provided the early inspiration to her famous relative. J.M. Barrie played pirate games at Moat Brae during his childhood and was later to say “For our escapades in a certain Dumfries Garden, which is enchanted land to me, were certainly the genesis of that Nefarious work – Peter Pan”

Dame Barbara Kelly, Chairman of the Peter Pan Moat Brae Trust, said: “Thanks to Anne and her amazing team of fundraisers we are getting ever closer to our target of £5.5m to start the final phase of works at Moat Brae. Support like this highlights just how much enthusiasm there is for the project and is typical of the imaginative and fun activities already being inspired by Moat Brae. Anne Bennett and her team have been so generous and it’s wonderful to see people across all generations getting together to make exciting things happen here in Dumfries and Galloway.

“This kind of engagement is at the heart of our success so far and provides a strong foundation for what will become an exciting programme of activities and events for everyone at the new Centre. The importance of having a place open to thousands of children a year, where they can discover a whole world of stories, imagination and fun is becoming more and more evident.”

The PPMBT appeal will see the Georgian Moat Brae House restored with the addition of a café, shop and education/performance spaces. A Neverland-themed Discovery Garden will open for play and adventures throughout the year and will feature creative planting and artistic installations to celebrate heritage, characters and stories of childhood.

A total over £4m of the £5.5m needed has already been secured and Trust patron Joanna Lumley last month launched the drive for the final funds with a special video which can be seen at www.peterpanmoatbrae.org. The Trust will be running a Pop-Up Charity Shop on Dumfries High Street to raise funds from 12th – 15th August.

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