Place that entertained not just when it rained

Lynn Allison and Nick Whitehead (right), co-chairmen of The Grand Pavilion Ltd, with trustee Andie Brazewell.

Lynn Allison and Nick Whitehead (right), co-chairmen of The Grand Pavilion Ltd, with trustee Andie Brazewell.

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“The Grand Pavilion was built to get tourists out of the rain and entertain them - it was a tourist pleasure centre and long may it remain so,” said Lynn Allison.

Lynn is co-chairman of The Grand Pavilion Ltd, a charity run by volunteers whose aim is to restore the 106-year-old iconic building in Matlock Bath to its former glory.

Campaigners fought hard to protect the village landmark and have been battling for funding for five years to make the dream come true.

Nick Whitehead, co-chairman and treasurer, said: “We estimate it is going to cost between two million pounds and three million pounds to do everything we want to do. We have had ten thousand pounds from the Heritage Lottery - the rest has been self generating.”

Nearly 1,000 supporters are helping to finance the restoration through annual subscriptions. Lynn said: “We have 993 friends. The whole population of Matlock Bath is about 850 so we are doing well in the region as a whole.

“Our job is to bring people in from outside as well as put on entertainment for local people. Our first major gig was Half Man Half Biscuit who brought their own audience with them. All the restaurants, b&b’s and hotels were full - for every £1 of ticket sales, there was £10 of local economic benefit.”

A concert by television star and former Matlock schoolgirl Isy Suttie produced a turnover of £4,000 last month as did the sale of burgers and hot drinks to visitors queueing up for tickets for Matlock Bath’s Illuminations last year.

Each year the charity generates a surplus which is invested in joiners, materials etc but that alone won’t cover everything on the to-do list.

Dave Mowle, trustee and head of building, said: “We need external funding. The windows need a mountain of money, the roof needs a mountain of money. We need to establish grant money in order to have a sustainable future.

“Fundraising is massively hard - doing the work is easy as there isn’t any one particular construction project which is difficult or problematic.”