Appeal for help as museum faces desperate cash crisis

THE fight is on to save an historic building in Axbridge which could close at the end of the year.

THE fight is on to save an historic building in Axbridge which could close at the end of the year.

Volunteers at King John's Hunting Lodge Museum are trying to rally support from residents after the group heard it would suffer from a slash to its budget.

The news comes after Sedgemoor District Council revealed it would definitely be cutting funding to the museum by 26.2 per cent, plunging the facility into a financial crisis.

Museum trust member Kate Browne said: "This calendar year the museum will remain open, but what the cuts will mean for subsequent years, I don't know.

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"We want to ensure the public the museum is going to want to do something to rectify the lack of core funding and this will not be the end."

The Axbridge and District Museum Trust, which runs the museum, wrote letters to all district councillors when proposals to cut funding were first revealed in January.

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The group of volunteers runs the museum with almost £18,000 from the authority but will now struggle to cope with the new budget.

About 60 volunteers help to run the museum, which also has regular visits from schools in the area.

The museum in The Square, which has more than 7,500 visitors a year, is also featured in a display at Bristol International Airport, to promote the medieval town.

A survey held last summer showed the majority of visitors to the museum also went on to visit shops, cafes and restaurants in the town. A quarter of visitors were National Trust members, who may not have otherwise visited Axbridge.

Despite the bad news, King John's Hunting Lodge Museum will be officially opened for the season on Saturday at 10am by mayor Mike Taylor.

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