Generous donors raised over £25,000 this week at a sell-out auction dinner in aid of the new Discovery Centre planned for Rye Harbour Nature Reserve.
Over 100 guests packed out The George in Rye last Saturday (17th November) to bid for a host of spectacular lots, including a flight in a vintage Tiger Moth, UEFA Champions League Tickets and a dinner party for 12 cooked for you in your own home. The lot raising the largest amount, with a winning bid of £4750, was an original oil painting – Camber Beach – donated to the appeal by Fred Cuming RA, the celebrated local artist whose work is held in collections worldwide. In total over £17,000 was raised by the auction on the night, with a further £6,700 being raised by online bidders in the weeks beforehand.
The event was also supported by a series of well-wishing local sponsors, enabling guests to dine on sustainably-sourced lamb grazed at Camber Castle, donated by farmer Frank Langrish, with sparkling wine from the Oxney Organic Estate in Beckley and chardonnay from Tillingham Wines, whose vineyards are even closer in nearby Peasmarsh.
The proceeds are a further boost to the Appeal, which is seeking to raise £1/2 million from supporters for the new Discovery Centre planned for the Nature Reserve at Rye Harbour. Alastair Fairley, the Chairman of the Appeal Board said: “This is a fantastic boost for the campaign. We’re hugely grateful to the organising committee who put in many hours of their own time to put such a wonderful evening together, to the dozens of people who donated the auction lots, and to the many generous guests who then bid for them. All told it was a great evening and a resounding success.”
With education facilities, a dynamic new exhibition space, café and community wildlife garden, the Discovery Centre is a joint project between Sussex Wildlife Trust and The Friends of Rye Harbour Nature Reserve. It is designed to provide a host of new ways visitors can enjoy, relax in and explore the Reserve’s vast 1100-acre expanse, as well as providing vital facilities and equipment for schools and volunteers to learn about, and look after the rare and endangered plants, birds and animals that thrive there. For more information about the Project, www.ryeharbourdiscoverycentre.org.uk
All photographs © Nazarin Montag