DELIGHTED crowds witnessed Portsmouth’s Wymering Manor being placed in the hands of the community.
As previously reported in The News, The Wymering Manor Trust has taken over what is considered the city’s oldest building, in Old Wymering Lane, Wymering, from the council.
Lord Mayor of Portsmouth Councillor Frank Jonas marked the handover yesterday during a ceremony at the grounds.
He signed the manor’s new visitors’ book and was joined by Portsmouth North MP Penny Mordaunt as they called on people to help cover restoration costs.
Ms Mordaunt is chairwoman of the trust, which is made up of eight other board members.
‘I want to thank the people who helped to secure this building for the local community,’ she said.
‘I also want to thank those that have campaigned against the demolition of the manor for many, many years.
‘They have worked incredibly hard.
‘Now we want to call on people in the community and in the wider area who would be willing to financially help us.’
The council has given the trust £30,000 to help get things started and a further £500,000 needs to be found.
Once work is finished, the trust wants to open up the manor for people to hire. Highbury College, in Cosham, helped to draw up the trust’s business plan.
Joan Fryer, 73, a founder member of The Friends of Old Wymering, said: ‘In the past, we’ve held open days here and it’s amazing because not many knew that the manor even existed.
‘We’d like to think local companies can help us.
‘We want people to appreciate how wonderful this heritage building is.’
Cllr Jonas said: ‘I want to thank everyone for keeping the manor here and keeping it away from demolition crews.
‘Speaking as a do it yourself man we’ve got a lot of work to do.’
A membership scheme will soon be set up so more people can join the trust and there are plans to hold events once a month where volunteers help to refurbish the place.
To contribute, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org