When: Wednesday 22 January
Time: 10.30am
Where: Allen Banks, Bardon Mill
Parking: Main car park
Contact on Day: Sadie Parker, PR & Communications Consultant
07901 500 565

Opportunity: The National Trust and partners will start to dismantle the Victorian Suspension Bridge at Allen Banks which was badly damaged by floods last year. The dismantling marks the beginning of a public fundraising appeal to help rebuild the ‘wobbly’ bridge which is much loved by local people and visitors. Interviews with the National Trust and partners will be available.

Please be aware: There is a ten minute walk from the car park to the site of the bridge along a footpath. Please dress for outdoors. Mobile signal is not good at the site so please let me know if you are coming so that I can ensure everyone is there before heading to the bridge.

Background information for the 22 January

Save the wobbly bridge

The National Trust is appealing to the public to help reinstate the Victorian Suspension Bridge, lovingly known locally as the ‘wobbly’ or ‘bouncy’ bridge, at Allen Banks in the Tyne Valley.

The conservation charity needs to raise £100,000 to rebuild the bridge and surrounding footpaths which were badly damaged by floods in May 2013. Trees and other debris got tangled in the bridge after being washed downstream, badly cracking the original stone steps, while the wooden crossing became a twisted mess.

Over £35,000 has already been pledged through public and private donations and the Trust is hoping to raise a further £10,000 towards their target through a special public Crowdfunder appeal. Crowdfunder is the UK’s largest reward based crowd funding platform. It enables charities to give special thanks to those who donate but only if they reach their target in a short space of time.

Victoria Bullock, the National Trust’s fundraising consultant told us:

“We chose this way of raising funds as we know the Victorian Suspension Bridge at Allen Banks is close to many people’s hearts and we want to recognise everyone who helps to rebuild it. Everyone who donates will receive special recognition from the National Trust depending on the level of donation, ranging from a personal ‘thank you’ message displayed in the pagoda at the main entrance to the woodland, to nominating a name to be etched into the new structure and an invite to a celebration party when the bridge opens.”

The Crowdfunder appeal launched this week and the National Trust has just six weeks to reach their target of £10,000. If they do not reach the target, they cannot accept any of the money pledged and will have to start the fundraising appeal from scratch.

Eric Wilton, Countryside Manager for the National Trust at Allen Banks said:

“The Bridge is one of the only surviving historic features of Susan Davidson’s Wilderness Garden, created in 1850. It is one of the key things that makes Allen Banks so special and is much loved by visitors. Many people have asked whether we will be replacing it like for like. They have made it clear they wouldn’t like it replaced with a more modern structure. If we raise the funds needed we can make sure we rebuild it as it was.”

The bridge has been missed by visitors to Allen Banks. Ben Walton of Allendale said the bridge ‘gave you more options in terms of walking’ as its part of a 3 miles circular route which takes in both sides of the river bank. Lawrence Thurgood of Whickham likened it to the rope bridge featured in the movie Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.

Ben said ‘It would be absolutely lovely to see the bridge back again. It suits this river so well. It’s got a lovely bit of history to it and it just adds to the scenery and the river itself.’

To donate to the National Trust’s fundraising appeal visit www.crowdfunder.co.uk/save-the-wobbly-bridge (please note this link will be live by week commencing 20 January)