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£8m Gainsborough’ House transformation needs business support

PUBLISHED: 10:19 26 September 2018 | UPDATED: 10:19 26 September 2018

John McMillan (President of the Sudbury Chamber of Commerce),  Terry Waite CBE and Mark Beals (Director of Gainsborough House)
Local businesses gathered to hear about ambitious plans to develop Gainsborough's House as a tourist attraction

John McMillan (President of the Sudbury Chamber of Commerce), Terry Waite CBE and Mark Beals (Director of Gainsborough House) Local businesses gathered to hear about ambitious plans to develop Gainsborough's House as a tourist attraction

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There was a packed house at a reception in aid of the Gainsborough’s House development project; Reviving an Artist’s Birthplace: A National Centre for Gainsborough, with businesses and individuals from Sudbury and the surrounding area coming together to support the project.

The Heritage Lottery Fund has awarded £4.5 million to refurbish and extend Gainsborough's House
Picture: GAINSBOROUGH'S HOUSEThe Heritage Lottery Fund has awarded £4.5 million to refurbish and extend Gainsborough's House Picture: GAINSBOROUGH'S HOUSE

The reception, held by Sudbury Chamber, had humanitarian and author Terry Waite CBE as guest of honour. His speech in support of the development of Gainsborough’s House recollected his love of the arts, and in particular the importance of sustaining support for the arts and culture in the UK.

Director of Gainsborough’s House Mark Bills oversaw proceedings and conducted a walk-through of the development plans. He said: “It was a great pleasure to welcome Terry and the Chamber of Commerce and share with them our vision for the future. We are enormously grateful for their support.”

Mr Bills added: “It is essential to get the business community behind it.

“The business community agrees the development of Gainsborough’s House will also be good for the business community and Sudbury, bringing more people to the town. It has got to be a good thing.

“We are grateful to get their support.

“All the people who came along joined our Friends assocation, and we will want to keep them engaged as we move forward.

“We want to take to take the town and the business community along with us.

“We can’t do it without local support.”

Art Students from Thomas Gainsborough and Sudbury Ormiston Schools were also in attendance to aid the smooth running of the reception, and got a glimpse at the development plans.

John McMillan, president of the Sudbury Chamber of Commerce said: “I hope this reception event has played its part in increasing the engagement of the business community with Gainsborough’s House. The expansion will be a huge benefit to Sudbury.”

Gainsborough’s House has raised the match-funding it needs to gain HLF approval, that will begin the three-year expansion project to build a new National Centre for Gainsborough in late 2018.

Further fundraising is needed to secure the future of the project.

Tickets for the reception went towards fundraising efforts, and included a year’s Friends of Gainsborough’s House membership.

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