Back in 1999, the late Fred Dibnah applied for planning permission to turn his famous Bolton house into a heritage centre, but was refused. It was one of Fred’s last wishes, and a new campaign has been launched to help make it a reality. Planning consent has been granted for Fred’s former home to be transformed into a Heritage Centre. But to meet all of the legal requirements for a visitor attraction, such as toilets and disabled access, there is a lot of work ahead.
To raise funds a ‘Sponsor a brick’ campaign has been launched. By sponsoring a brick with donation of £10 you will get a free entry into a Spot the Ball competition if you are in the UK, and the lucky winner will get £7,500 Cash, with a runner-up prize of £2,500. The third prize is a half days Land Rover experience (care of land Rover UK) for 3 people. There are also 10 other runner up mystery prizes.
Not only will the campaign be raising funds towards building the Fred Dibnah Heritage Centre, but 25p from every Brick sponsored will go towards Cancer Research. This is very fitting, as Fred himself was a victim of cancer.
The Heritage Centre is also keen to hear from companies who may be interested in sponsoring the main workshop. It would be fantastic publicity for an engineering firm!
Project Manager Phil outlined work to be done:
“To just give you some idea of what is required before we can open the site to the public, the council insist that we put toilet facilities in place, these must include Disabled toilets; then we have to securely fence the perimeter to prevent people falling down the 70 feet to the river, we have to put safety rails around the exhibits, machines etc. we have to totally resurface the outside pedestrian areas and as we may at some time want to bring vehicles in this surface has to be to highway standards, and disabled friendly, the inside floor of Freds main workshop is old railway sleepers, for health & safety reasons a part of this (a walkway) has got to be covered with smooth non slip surface wherever the public may set foot, we have got several estimates in for this work which amount to £267,000. and that is just to satisfy the council. We also have to re-roof the small workshop, and the rear half of the main workshop, and we want to make this a pleasurable experience for the visitors so we want to provide pleasant seating areas which due to our wonderful climate need to be covered, and somewhere for the visitor to get a drink and a sandwich, which then requires a catering kitchen. So as you can see we need to raise something like £500,000 before we start on fettling the boilers and all of Freds fantastic machinery”