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COMMUNITY FUNDRAISING CAMPAIGN SUCCESS

FOR KESWICK TO THRELKELD RAILWAY TRAIL

The Lake District Foundation, the local conservation charity, are celebrating after the recent opening of the much-loved Keswick to Threlkeld Railway Trail has proven a hit.

The trail reopened due to a successful six-month (K2T) community fundraising campaign in 2018 to help reinstate the path. 

The 10km return route from Keswick to Threlkeld has been well used over the Christmas and New Year break, welcoming runners, cyclists, walkers and multi-users . 

The reopening was made possible by the donations received during the campaign from individuals, local business and support from Highways England, the European Structural and Investment Funds and the Local Enterprise Partnership, the new, accessible route is opened on Saturday 5th December 2020, it was on the 5th anniversary of Storm Desmond.    

Following the floods in December 2015, the Keswick to Threlkeld Railway path suffered serious damage. Two of the old railway bridges that crossed the River Greta and around 200 metres of the path surface were washed away, and Rawsome Bridge was left at risk of collapse. 

Sarah Swindley, the Lake District Foundation’s CEO, said:The community fundraising campaign raised an incredible £130,000. We were thrilled to have had so much support from the local community, businesses, residents, visitors and organisations; everyone played their part to make it happen. We would like to say a huge thank-you to everyone who donated during the campaign. We are looking forward to the opening this Saturday and for everyone to enjoy the new path for years to come.” 

Local businesses boosted the fundraising campaign considerably including a generous donation from HF Holidays. One of their country houses, Derwent Bank, is situated close to the path where several walking routes from the house were are affected by the damage caused by Storm Desmond. HF Holidays donated £20,000 to the campaign. 

Hannah Garcia, HF Holidays, said: “HF Holidays was delighted to be able to contribute the £20,000 donation from the HF Pathways Fund to the Keswick to Threlkeld Railway Path Restoration, and be able to support the valuable work that has taken place; enabling our guests and walking community to continue to enjoy the fantastic routes and experiences this location offers.”   

The fundraising campaign saw donation boxes and promotional materials displayed in 72 local businesses and many of these carried out additional fundraising events including quiz nights, selling special products, and taking part in the K2T 5k challenge. 

Community organisations also got involved, making donations and holding events, including a railway path walk by Braithwaite School which raised over £300 and a national fell running event hosted by Keswick Athletic Club which raised £1,250. On midsummers day, with the support of Keswick Scouts, Keswick Anglers, Keswick Lions, Keswick Town Council and the Love the Lakes shop, a duck race raised a further £1,300 for the campaign. 

As part of the campaign, The Lake District Foundation hosted its first ever charity auction night and raised over £8,600 from 40 lots. Local businesses and celebrities donated fantastic prizes including a day on the Lake District Fells with Alan Hinkes OBE. The Lodore Falls Hotel & Spa kindly donated the venue, canapes, reception drinks and £20 per booking to the campaign. 

Members of the public donated online, by cash, cheque, or Text Giving throughout the campaign and 6 local residents set up sponsored events of their own. Adam Bazire, owner of the Threlkeld Coffee Shop, has raised over £2,300 to date on his challenge to walk the full route of the old railway from Penrith station to the former Keswick station. 

For further information about the trail visit the Lake District National Park website http://www.lakedistrict.gov.uk  

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