“WE’ll get by with a little help from our friends.”
That is the clear message from the Friends of the Grand Pavilion in Matlock Bath whose plans to restore the entertainment venue are gathering pace.
With a £2.5 million renovation project planned to restore the building to its former glory, there has been no shortage of backing from the locals, as the number of friends signed up recently passed 900.
The building was taken over by a group of residents in 2010 with hopes to run it as a charitable trust.
And leading campaigner Gregor Macgregor says the positive feeling generated about the project is shining through.
He said: “Almost all of them are local, it gives a reflection of the feeling around this area, it’s phenomenal.
“We launched in this April last year, and we’ve been getting about 100 people every month.
“There are some who say they have wonderful memories and say ‘here’s £5’. Then there are number of people who just turned on by what we are trying to do.
“They want a music venue, a theatre and an arts centre.
“There are just other who want to get involved- we’re even had a few people from North Wales and Hertfordshire who have been to Matlock Bath and want to help do something for it.
“It’s fantastic. We hoped we’d get 500 and dream that we’d reach 1,000, but I think in the next few weeks we will.”
Closed in 2008, the venue has been left to ruin despite once being an entertainment hotspot of the area.
The building was built over 100 years and played host to everything from theatre productions and concerts, to boxing nights and antique fairs.
It was eventually transformed into a nightclub but was closed in 2008 and has been left largely untouched since.
The objective is to restore it to an entertainment venue as it was prior to being a nightclub.
Mr Macgregor is confident work can begin soon and says the signing of the lease is imminent.
It will cost the Grant Hotel Ltd - the charity set up to take control of the building - just £1 to take it on from the owners, Derbyshire Dales District Council, on a freehold lease.
Mr Macgregor added: “All we need to do is sign the lease, the council have agreed to it but it just seems like a crawl to get it done.
“Once we have, we will want volunteers to help clear out as much as we can.”
The charity is now looking into applying for grants, which if successful, will help pay for the renovation.
To join the group or for more information, contact Mr Macgregor, at Masson Cottage, Upperwood Road, Matlock Bath, or call 01629 55088.
Individual membership is £10, for a family it is £15, and concessions pay £5.