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Book launch to raise funds for historic building

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Funds raised from the history book will go towards the restoration of the Old Bluecoat School, Thatcham

AN author from Woolhampton is launching a book about one of Thatcham's oldest buildings, and hopes that revenue from sales will help fund its restoration.

John Trigg's Thatcham's Old Bluecoat School and its Times takes a look at the history of the building that housed the old school in Bath Road and what was happening in Thatcham during the time it was in use.

There are sections on the First World War, the former Thatcham House, a notable property in the 19th century, and some history about the town.

Mr Trigg said: “The Old Bluecoat School very much belongs to the people of Thatcham.

“They built it; it was not imposed upon them.

“It was very much theirs – it has been there for a long time and it has witnessed a lot of history.

“I'm hoping that the book will have good sales and hopefully it does its job to help in whatever way the Bluecoat School Trust wants it to.”

He said that, as much as anything, the trust wanted to raise people's awareness of the old school building and the Thatcham Old Bluecoat School Charity behind it, and what it was hoping to achieve.

The building, which is more than 700 years old, re-opened following minor work at the end of last year, and the charity is now hoping to raise money for more restoration works and an extension to include a kitchen.

Once this has been completed, it is hoped to make the building available for the use of heritage, art, cultural, education and community events.

The chairman of the charity, Clive Williams, said that it was intending to apply for grants from organisations such as English Heritage and the Lottery Fund, but added that this was quite a long process.

He estimated that the project would cost about £400,000, with a further £10,000 needed each year for the building's maintenance.

He said that they had already raised some money, but so far nothing substantial.

“It's just difficult times,” he said.

He added, however, that it was important that people came along to the book launch so that they could see the building in its current state.

The launch takes place on October 7 from 7pm at the Old Bluecoat School.

There will be an art exhibition and Mr Trigg will be available to talk about the book.

All are welcome to attend.

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