Major fund-raising initiative is launched

White Swan Hotel general manager James Thompson and operations manager Anthony Fyfe with and Carlo Biagioni, chairman of Alnwick Chamber of Trade  and Elizabeth Jones and Tom Pattinson from Alnwick In Bloom, announcing The Alnwick Raffle.  Picture by Jane Coltman
White Swan Hotel general manager James Thompson and operations manager Anthony Fyfe with and Carlo Biagioni, chairman of Alnwick Chamber of Trade and Elizabeth Jones and Tom Pattinson from Alnwick In Bloom, announcing The Alnwick Raffle. Picture by Jane Coltman

Residents are being encouraged to support a major community initiative which aims to raise enough funds to purchase plants to spruce up parts of Alnwick.

The Alnwick Raffle 2016 is the brainchild of Jonathan Park, from the town’s Halifax Community Bank branch, and it has already been backed by a range of local businesses and groups.

Around 3,000 raffle tickets, priced £1 each, will be available for a fortnight, starting this weekend, and will be sold through local shops where a poster is displayed.

Entrants will be in with the chance of winning a range of specially-donated prizes – including an afternoon tea for four in the White Swan Hotel or a £40 meal for two at Lilburns – and Mr Park is urging people to buy a ticket, for the good of the town.

He said: “Support so far has been amazing, with the backing from many groups and businesses. Now it is up to the community to get behind this by buying tickets. If everybody purchases a ticket, we should raise a lot of money.”

The raffle will be drawn on the evening of Saturday, February 20, in the White Swan Hotel’s Olympic Suite, at an event hosted by Alnwick Chamber of Trade (Act). Tickets for this cost £10 and will be available by invitation only. It is hoped that there will be additional prizes to bid for on the night and a buffet will be provided by the venue.

Halifax Community Bank’s Alnwick branch will match, pound for pound, raffle-ticket sales and this, plus any additional funds raised, will be used to purchase plants, at cost, from The Alnwick Garden.

Two or three major planting areas, which could include locations such as the bus station, will then be chosen, with the help of Alnwick in Bloom.

The planting colours used will mirror those of the Alnwick Quarters – an initiative which promotes various sections of the town in different ways. Planting will take place in the selected areas after Easter and will hopefully include local schools and the businesses who provided prizes for the raffle.

Act chairman Carlo Biagioni said: “I am excited about this. The response from businesses has been tremendous. Much can be achieved by working together with all organisations.”

The Duchess of Northumberland has backed the fund-raiser. She said: “I am delighted to support the community raffle. It is encouraging to see lots of different people working together to make Alnwick a much brighter and more attractive place.”

Details, including prizes donated so far, will soon be available on the Alnwick Lions’ website. Businesses who would like to join in should call Jonathan on 01665 626908 or email Carlo at cbiagioni1@gmail.com