Welcome to the Marple Website

Iron Bridge Restoration Project

Marple's Iron Bridge Restoration Project Planning Diary

In August 2003 the Iron Bridge Restoration Project Group was awarded a Heritage Lottery Fund grant of £30,100 towards the cost of the first phase of work needed to achieve the restoration of the historic Iron Bridge in Brabyns Park. This page forms part 1 of a project diary to keep visitors informed of progress since this new phase commenced.

The Iron Bridge before restoration works.
The Iron Bridge before restoration works.

There is also a Campaign Diary, covering the two years prior to this award, which records the events since June 2001, when The Marple Website's campaign to restore the Iron Bridge began. This is split into two pages, one for each year, due to its size.

Originally entries were displayed in reverse chronological order, with the latest at the top of the page to make them easier to find during the live campaign. When migrating here entries were switched to cronological order to make it easier to follow the timeline of events from start to finish.

The text is as written at the time and has only been edited where links etc. no longer work.

Iron Bridge Project Planning Phase Diary (Part 1, from August 2003)

27 August 2003

Another great quiz at the Ring o' Bells has raised £53, bringing us close to the fantastic sum of £5,000 raised from within the local community.

Community Raised Funding
c/f from 30 July £4899.04
Ringers Quiz 27/08/03 £53.00
Total Funds available £4952.04

30 August 2003

We learnt earlier in the month that the Heritage Lottery Fund had approved our Project Planning Grant application. A formal announcement could not be made until publicity details had been discussed, which has been done over the last couple of weeks. These have now been agreed and the following news release is approved by Stockport Council and the Heritage Lottery Fund's Press Office:


Grant Success for Marple's Iron Bridge

A significant milestone has been achieved in the campaign to save the historic cast iron bridge in Brabyns Park, Marple, Stockport.

The Iron Bridge Restoration Project Group, a partnership between Stockport Council, The Marple Website and Marple Local History Society, submitted a successful application to the HLF.

The Heritage Lottery Fund awarded the Group a grant of just over £30,000, which represents 90% of the funds required during the project's first phase. The grant will pay for detailed investigations into the bridge's condition and enable a scheme to be developed and costed to tackle the restoration work identified. An application can then be made for a full grant towards the cost of the final phase, which, if also approved, would fund the work to return the bridge near to its original condition.

Mark and Peter at the bridge before work starts

Councillor Ingrid Shaw, the Council's Executive Member for Leisure and Culture, said: " I am very pleased that the Iron Bridge Restoration Group, in partnership with the Council, has been successful in their application to the Heritage Lottery Fund. It is a good example of how a community led initiative can give a substantial boost to the borough's heritage and environment.

"I would encourage as many people as possible to take part in this exciting project – for more information contact The Marple Website or Council officers on 0161 474 4418," she added.

The bridge was built in 1813 for Nathaniel Wright, then owner of the Brabyns Estate, and is now a grade II listed structure. It was made by the Salford Ironworks and is of cast iron construction in the style of several bridges from the same period by the famous architect Thomas Telford. Its purpose was to provide Wright with access to his estate by carriage from Compstall, across the River Goyt.

The Council purchased Brabyns Estate from Wright's descendants, the Hudson family, in 1941, and the grounds were opened as a public park in 1949. The condition of Brabyns Hall, used as a military hospital during the wars, deteriorated and it was demolished in 1952. The Iron Bridge survived until 1991, when it was declared unsafe after the wooden decking began to give way. As the funds needed to carry out a proper repair were not available, a bailey bridge was erected across it as a temporary measure until sufficient money could be found.

The grant will also contribute towards the cost of developing proposals for access, conservation and on site interpretation to increase understanding of the bridge's heritage. This will involve consultation with the local community and ensure that physical access to the bridge and awareness of its importance is brought to the widest audience possible.

The award of the grant is the culmination of two years of effort for the Group's members. The Marple Website, run by local history enthusiasts Mark Whittaker and Peter Clarke, began campaigning for the restoration of the bridge two years ago. Ann Hearle, of Marple Local History Society, joined the web site team in their campaign and during 2002 the group was formed with Stockport Council to find ways to fund the work required.

Growing public support for the campaign was demonstrated by the collection of 2000 signatures and more than 120 individual letters of support from the local community and last year, the Council's Marple Area Committee awarded the Group a £1,500 'Kick Start' Grant.

Campaigner Mark Whittaker said: "The support we received through the web site from the local community in the early stages of our campaign was fantastic and I think this convinced the Council that inviting us to work in partnership with them could bring success. We're really looking forward to continuing our work together to ensure that the bridge is restored to its former glory and its long term future is secured."

Further successful fund raising efforts were ongoing to raise the rest of the money that the Group would need in order to contribute 10% of the project's first phase costs. Money was raised in a variety of different ways, including an auction of paintings donated by members of the Society of Marple Artists and regular fun quiz nights held at the Ring o' Bells pub on Church Lane.

The Project has been well supported by other local community groups and businesses. The McNair Trust, Marple Carnival Committee, The Rotary Club of New Mills, Marple and District, an anonymous benefactor and Helen Winterson Fashions of Market Street all made substantial donations towards the first phase of work.

Other local businesses offered support to the project in different ways. Local Tree Surgeon David Myers, of Myers Treecare Ltd., has offered his professional services free of charge; Lee Battersby of Romiley, technical sales manager for E Wood Ltd, a company that supplies paint for rail bridges, has offered to provide any paint required; and local engraving and sign company 1A-Sign? has provided a notice board to be erected near the bridge to keep visitors to the park informed of how the project is progressing.

"This is tremendous news," explains Peter Clarke "but we must now focus on building upon our success. Once the first phase is underway we'll begin to get some idea of the amount of money we need to raise to complete our goal, which is the next great challenge. We've already been approached by one local company pledging financial aid, but we'll need further help, and shall be asking other businesses to look for ways of supporting this worthy appeal."

The first phase of work will commence once permission to start has been received from the Heritage Lottery Fund. For the latest news on the Project's progress visit the Group's Campaign Diary on the Marple Website at www.marple-uk.com

The Iron Bridge Restoration Project Group is grateful to the following organisations and individuals for the help and support they've provided, or offered, so far:

The Heritage Lottery Fund
Capricorn Engraving / 1A-Sign?
Helen Winterson Fashions
Keith Clifford
Marple Area Committee
Marple Carnival Charities Committee
Marple Conservative Club and Ray Noble
Marple Local History Society
Myers Treecare Ltd.
The McNair Trust
The Ring o' Bells Public House
The Rotary Club of New Mills, Marple & District
The Society of Marple Artists, especially Malcolm Melia
E. Wood Ltd.

Click here for a downloadable pdf version of this release.

This is the culmination of 2 years campaigning, fund-raising, planning and preparation for members of the Group, which is a partnership between Stockport Council, The Marple Website and Marple Local History Society.

Thank you to everyone who has helped us to get this far, including all the people who signed the petition, wrote letters of support and those who've helped with fund-raising activities. Thanks also to the organisations, businesses and individuals who've donated money or offered their services in so many different ways.

The award of this grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund is a huge step forward for our campaign, now entering a new phase as a project. In recognition of this we've started this new chapter in our diary and will continue keeping visitors up to date with progress.

Of course there's still a long way to go before the bridge is restored to its former glory so, if you'd like to offer your help in anyway, please get in touch with us using our contact us page.

5 September 2003

Our new sign at the bridgeWe erected a sign next to the bridge to publicise the HLF grant and to let visitors to the park know that the project will soon be starting. It will also be used as a notice board to keep visitors up-to-date with latest news and progress. The sign has been provided free of charge by local company Capricorn Engraving / 1A-Sign?, who are based in the Goyt Mill at Hawk Green. We are very grateful to directors Dave and Christine Lowery for the fantastic support they have given to the project. We must also acknowledge the support of local Timber, Joinery and D.I.Y. firm Tomlinson Parbans, of Buxton Road, High Lane, who supplied, free of charge, the quick setting concrete post-mix we needed to complete the erection of the sign.

We also found time to pose for a picture, taken by a photographer from the Manchester Evening News, which was published in the Evening News on Monday 8th September and in the Metro on Friday 12th, giving the project a great publicity boost. The first to publish the news of the award though was the Stockport Times, on 4th September, a paper which has given regular support to our campaign in the past.

Papers report funding success

12 September 2003

The Group's first meeting since the award's announcement was held today. The next step in the process is to satisfy the Heritage Lottery Fund's requirements to ensure everything is in order by submitting an application for formal permission to start the work. As part of this we have to demonstrate that the partnership funding is in place and provide a detailed programme and cash flow for the work to be carried out. The programme is expected to take a couple of weeks to put in place.

MEN newspaper report

Whilst the paperwork for this is being compiled the Group agreed that a volunteer clean-up day would be a good idea, to remove as much of the vegetation and rubbish from around the bridge as we can, before the investigation works commence. This will be held on Sunday 28th September and anyone who would like to join in is welcome to meet us at the bridge at 10.00 am. Please wear strong boots or shoes and suitable clothing. Please also bring gardening gloves and any tools you feel may be helpful. If you would like any information about the clean-up day, please get in touch using our contact us page.

24 September 2003

This month's quiz at the Ring o' Bells raised £52.09, which was enough to take us to over £5,000 raised from within the local community.

Community Raised Funding
c/f from 27 August £4952.04
Ringers Quiz 24/09/03 £52.09
Total Funds available £5004.13 

28 September 2003

Despite a poor turn-out the clean-up day was a great success and we managed to clear a large amount of vegetation and soil that had collected on the bridge. Several visitors to the park stopped to discuss the project with us and their comments were all favourable and very encouraging.

Many thanks to Adrian Ellis from SMBC and Phil Chapman, who joined Peter and me from 10.00 am to 1.30 pm. The photos below show some of the team in action, including Phil, an experienced climber, reaching some of the parts the rest of us couldn't!

12 October 2003

Marple Carnival Charities Committee have shown their support for the project for the second year running by donating £100 from the 2003 Carnival fund. We thank the committee for their generosity, which raises the funding currently provided from within the local community to:

Community Raised Funding
c/f from 24 September £5004.13
Carnival Committee Donation £100.00
Total Funds available £5104.13 

22 October 2003

The Group's permission to start the project form was submitted to the HLF today. Hopefully we'll receive permission within the next week or two and will be able to make start on the first phase of work.

Another good quiz was held today at the Ring o' Bells and a further £70.55 raised towards the fund.

Community Raised Funding
c/f from 12 October £5104.13
Ringers Quiz 22/10/03 £70.55
Total Funds available £5174.68

4 November 2003

We heard today that permission to start the project is on its way, along with our first grant payment. An Inception Meeting is to be arranged with the Contractor who is to be awarded the first phase of the work. 

13 November 2003

Formal permission to start the first phase of work has now been received from the Heritage Lottery Fund and their first grant payment installment has been sent to Stockport Council. £3,400 of the community raised funding has also been transferred to the Council's project account. This represents the 10% of partnership funding required for the first phase of work, and is made up as follows:

Marple Area Committee Kick-Start Grant £1,500
The McNair Trust £500
Marple Carnival Charities Committee £270
Rotary Club of New Mills, Marple & District £200
Anonymous donation £200
Helen Winterson's Fashions £100
Fun Quizzes @ Ring o' Bells (Part) £630
Total £3,400

Thank you once again to all those groups, organisations and individuals whose generosity has contributed to this partnership funding.

This leaves us with a current balance of £1774.68 community raised partnership funding. This comprises the rest of the money raised at the Ring o' Bells' quizzes, plus the proceeds of the auction of paintings last year. This remains held on the project's behalf by Marple Local History Society and we will continue to try and build on this while we wait to discover how much more money will be needed for the future restoration of the bridge.

A pre-Bailey Bridge shot of the Iron Bridge in Brabyns Park, date unknown.
A pre-Bailey Bridge shot of the Iron Bridge in Brabyns Park, date unknown.

Once we have a better idea of the full amount of money that will be needed for the next phase we will begin further fund raising efforts in earnest. Peter and I are planning a sponsored walk from the Iron Bridge in Brabyn's Park, via the canals, to the historic Iron Bridge in Telford, Shropshire. We are currently looking to local businesses for sponsorship for the walk and anyone interested please get in touch.

Video inspection conducted on 13 November 2003

This video inspection of Marple's Iron Bridge in Brabyns Park was conducted on 13th November 2003, during the early stages of the campaign to restore it and was submitted to the HLF in the funding bid. The film wasn't shared at the time as the file was too large.

It was added to the diary after being rediscovered in Marple Local History Society's archives during March 2023.

14 November 2003

A busy day! Peter, Ann Hearle and I spent the morning walking round the pathways of Brabyns Park discussing the Access Plan with Tim Boylan, Dave Burrows and Adrian Ellis, the Council members of the Project Team. Fortunately the wet weather held off until we'd finished.

In the afternoon we attended an Inception Meeting with SMBC's Team and Steve Black of Scott Wilson, the Consulting Engineers who will be carrying out most of the work during the first phase. Scott Wilson are an experienced international firm of consulting engineers and have particular expertise in the design, rehabilitation and conservation of major and minor transport related structures. Click here to learn more about Scott Wilson.

The first 'real' work is due to commence during the next two to three weeks with a tactile inspection of the bridge. This will include a team of experienced engineers who will abseil over and under the bridge to identify and recording its condition and the extent of any defects. We'll do our best to get some pictures of this, as it is the only real activity scheduled to take place at the bridge during this phase of the project.

Following this will be a period of assessment of the inspection results and some preliminary optioneering. This will be reviewed at a meeting, provisionally set for 9th January 2004, after which a final report will be prepared. At this time we should have a good indication of the approximate cost of restoring the bridge to its former glory, and the likely amount we will need to raise as partnership funding.

The final report should enable a single option for the restoration to be selected, which will then be subject to detailed design by Scott Wilson. Once this is complete and agreed by all parties concerned, it will allow us to go out to competitive tender and establish the detailed cost of the next phase of the project. This will then be the subject of a further grant application to the HLF, which will have to be successful before the work identified can be undertaken.

The above is a fairly simple summary of the work to be undertaken over the next few months. As always, we'll keep visitors informed of progress, as it happens, through this project diary.

17 November 2003

Paul Hartley, Stockport Council's Conservation Officer, and a member of the Iron Bridge Restoration Project Group, gave a most enjoyable presentation to Marple Local History Society on the work of a Conservation Officer. Paul asked for the standard fee of £25 paid by the LHS to be donated to the Iron Bridge Fund. Thanks to Paul the community funding situation now stands at:

Community Raised Funding
c/f from 13 November £1774.68
Paul Hartley LHS Fee £25.00
Funds available £1799.68
Funds Committed £3400.00
Total Funds Raised £5199.68 

26 November 2003

Scott Wilson arranged for Engineers Sergio Ledo and Matt Harrington from REDS - Reach Engineering & Diving Services Ltd - to carry out a tactile inspection of the bridge and Peter was able to get some photographs of them in action abseiling under the bridge.

Sergio Ledo and Matt Harrington from REDS
Sergio Ledo (blue) and Matt Harrington from REDS s
mile for the camera

REDS' survey will provide essential detailed information to Scott Wilson for them to use during their calculations of the bridge's strength and for their assessment of the options available for repair work. Obviously we'll have to wait for Scott Wilson to carry out their assessments before we have definitive conclusions, however, we can advise that nothing of a serious nature was found during the tactile inspection. For more information about REDS visit their web site at www.red-services.co.uk

This evening's quiz at the Ring o' Bells raised £70 towards the Iron Bridge Fund:

Community Raised Funding
c/f from 17 November £1799.68
Ringers Quiz 19/11/03 £70.00
Funds available £1869.68
Funds Committed £3400.00
Total Funds Raised £5269.68

3 January 2004

The Fun Quiz at the Ring o' Bells just before Christmas raised £68.50 towards the Iron Bridge Fund. The pot has also been boosted by a 'Crisp Tenner' from Marple Community Council for our winning entry to the Marple Quiz featured on their web site during November and December last year.

At the end of this week the Group has a review meeting with Scott Wilson to learn the initial findings of their inspection and assessment of the bridge. We hope to be able to report the latest news here soon after.

Peter and I did our first serious training for our sponsored walk - from Iron Bridge to Iron Bridge - this week, with a 16 mile hike from Bosley Locks to Marple's Top Lock. This was the first leg, in reverse, of the 90 mile walk planned for May and proved that I need to get some serious mileage under my belt before the real thing if I'm going to survive it! As a regular dog walker, Peter fared much better. We are starting to look for ways to sponsor this now and if you think you can help, please get in touch.

The Iron Bridge Fund currently stands as follows:

Community Raised Funding
c/f from 19 November £1869.68
Ringers Quiz 18/12/03 £68.50
MCC Marple Quiz prize £10.00
Funds available £1948.18
Funds Committed £3400.00
Total Funds Raised £5348.18

10 January 2004

We learnt earlier this week that there have been delays to the assessment being carried out by Scott Wilson because a second inspection of the bridge was necessary to gather additional information and clarify some anomalies from the first visit. The Review Meeting has therefore had to be rescheduled for 23 January 2004. This has been disappointing, but it's important that the assessment is done properly and not compromised. Look out for more news following the review.

21 January 2004

There was a very good turnout for our quiz night at the Ring o' Bells and a further £91.82 was raised. We were particularly pleased to welcome Tree Surgeon Dave Myers and his wife to the quiz. Dave has supported our campaign since the very early days, when he offered his professional services for free. We're looking forward to the day when we can take him up on this excellent offer.

The Iron Bridge Fund currently stands as follows:

Community Raised Funding
c/f from 3 January £1948.18
Ringers Quiz 21/1/04 £91.82
Funds available £2040.00
Funds Committed £3400.00
Total Funds Raised £5440.00

23 January 2004

We attended the Review meeting with SMBC's Officers and Scott Wilson's Steve Black. As reported earlier, the meeting was delayed from the planned date of 9 January because it was found necessary for the inspection engineers to return to the bridge for a second visit to gather additional information. This impacted on the completion of Scott Wilson's assessment, which unfortunately was also not as advanced as we expected it to be for the meeting today. This was very disappointing because it means that we still do not have a report with clearly defined and costed options. Issue of the report is now promised for 23 February and we hope that there will not be any further delays.

News on the technical side is better, although provisional at this stage because the assessment is not complete. There are different levels of loading that the bridge could be expected to withstand, each requiring different amounts of strengthening. We have been advised that the requirements for vehicular access would be quite considerable, including carbon fibre strengthening, for loads up to 7.5t, or new beams to replace the central girder for loads in excess of 7.5t. The strengthening required for pedestrian loading, which includes horses, appears to be significantly less, involving additional vertical cross bracing only. It was agreed by everyone at the meeting that the bridge should not be expected to carry any form of vehicular loading and that options should be developed on the basis of pedestrian and horse traffic only.

As well as the additional bracing expected to be confirmed in the completed report, several other repairs will be necessary. These include replacement of some of the bolted connections, handrail repairs, blasting and repainting of the ironwork, replacement of the timber decking and pointing of the stonework.

The report has to be approved by SMBC's Engineers before a single option is chosen to be developed into a detailed scheme. English Heritage will also have to be consulted before things progress too far.

That's all we can tell you at the moment, until after our next meeting on 27 February, by which time the report should have been received from Scott Wilson and had at least an initial review by SMBC's Engineers.

5 February 2004

MotorhomeHas anybody out there got one of these that they would be prepared to let us borrow? It doesn't have to be this big to be honest, although that would be nice - it will just need to sleep 3 to 4 people comfortably and either a caravan or campervan would do the job.

As mention briefly before in the diary, Peter and I are planning a sponsored walk between the Iron Bridge in Brabyns Park and the famous Iron Bridge in Shropshire, to raise money towards the next phase of funding that will be needed to restore Marple's Iron Bridge.

The walk is scheduled to start on Saturday 8th May and we expect it to take 5 days or so to complete the 90 mile trip, virtually all of which will be by canal towpath. We already have the services of an experienced driver, we just need a vehicle that can be used as a base each night at various locations on route. We would obviously ensure that it was fully insured for the period of the trip.

If you are able to help with this please get in touch with Peter using our contact us page. Please also get in touch if you are interested in sponsoring this this event in any other way - Any commercial organisations prepared to contribute can be assured that we will do our utmost to publicise your generosity.

19 February 2004

The Fun Quiz at the Ring o' Bells raised £86 towards the restoration fund. We also received a promising offer of a camper van to use as a base for our walk in May.

15 March 2004

We gave a PowerPoint presentation to Marple Local History Society explaining the history of Brabyns Park, the life of Nathaniel Wright, the history of the Salford Iron Works and how they all became linked together, leading to construction of the iron bridge in 1813. The presentation was based on the The Brief History of the Park, the Iron Bridge and the People Involved in its Construction, which is already on-line here on the web site.

The presentation, which was very well received, also explained how the Campaign for restoration began in 2001 and gradually gathered public support, culminating in the award of the HLF Project Planning grant last year. Obviously you can read the full story in detail right here!

The standard £25 fee paid by the History Society will go into the restoration fund pot and we also collected £85 in sponsorship for our walk, plus several more pledges of donations.

The time it took to put the presentation together is part of the reason why the website has not been updated quite as regularly as normal recently!

17 March 2004

The St. Patrick's Night Quiz at the Ring o' Bells raised £71 towards the restoration fund. The Ring o' Bells Quizzes are now the single biggest contributor to the community raised funding with a total sum of £1722.55 so far. The arrangements for the camper van for our sponsored walk were also confirmed, which is fantastic news! Our thanks go to Andy Glossop of AMG Videos, a member of regular quiz team 'Splodginess Abounds!' for his generous offer to help in this way.

The Iron Bridge Fund currently stands as follows:

Community Raised Funding
c/f from 21 January £2040.00
Ringers Quiz 19/2/04 £86.00
Ringers Quiz 17/3/04 £71.00
Sponsored Walk* 15/3/04 £85.00 * only includes sponsorship received, not pledged
LHS Fee 15/3/04 £25.00
Funds available £2307.00
Funds Committed £3400.00
Total Funds Raised £5707.00

24 March 2004

We apologise for having not updated the site with any progress for a while. This was partly due to preparations for the Local History presentation on the 15th but also because things have not been going quite as smoothly as we were expecting recently. The report we received on 23 February, and was subsequently updated on 26 February and 6 March, identified a need for significantly more bracing than we were anticipating following the meeting on 23 January. This has lead to protracted debate about the conclusions of the report and the options for restoration that it presented.

Brabyns Park's magnificent Iron Bridge, prior to the Bailey bridge being fitted.
Brabyns Park's magnificent Iron Bridge, prior to the Bailey bridge being fitted.

After what has been a difficult period we now seem to be making progress again and a further revision to the report is currently awaited. At present we are also waiting for feedback from English Heritage on the initial report issued to them. Their views on the new one will also be essential to us before an option for restoration can be selected. While all of this is going on it would be premature for us to publish any further detail but we will do so as soon as current activities reach a satisfactory conclusion.

8 April 2004

We had a productive Group meeting at which we discussed the various options for restoration. Good progress was made towards agreeing the preferred option and this will be discussed further, and hopefully finalised, at a meeting on 22nd April. 

11 April 2004

We announced details of our sponsored walk from Iron Bridge to Iron Bridge and appealed for help in raising money from visitors to the site. We are due to leave the Iron Bridge in Brabyns Park at 10.00 am on Saturday 8th May and the '90 mile stroll' is expected to take between six and seven days. For more details of how you can help, please click here.

14 April 2004

Our regular quiz at the Ring o' Bells raised a further £69 towards the restoration fund and we also collected £55 in sponsorship for the walk. Arrangements have been made for us to collect sponsorship at the Co-Op in Marple on Saturday 24th April and Saturday 1st May, which we hope will give the fund a substantial boost.

The Iron Bridge Fund currently stands as follows:

Community Raised Funding
c/f from 17 March £2307.00
Ringers Quiz 14/4/04 £69.00
New Sponsorship* £80.00
Funds available £2456.00
Funds Committed £3400.00
Total Funds Raised £5856.00

* Only includes sponsorship received, see below
Sponsored Walk Funding @ 16/4/04
Total sponsorship received £165.00
pledged but not yet collected £102.00

Donations plus pledges so far £267.00

2 May 2004

We've had a great response about our '90 Mile Stroll' from customers of the Marple Co-Op, who, over the last two Saturdays, have sponsored us for a total of £506.54. Local people were extremely supportive and very interested in the progress of the project. This was most encouraging and helps to combat those rare occasions when one wonders whether all the effort is worth it! One couple in particular, well into their eighties and the lady being pushed in a wheelchair by her husband, were incredibly enthusiastic. They explained that they had fond memories of the bridge from their courting days, when they spent much time together there, and had come to the Co-Op because they had read about the sponsored walk in the newspaper and wanted to make a contribution - I felt good all day! Many thanks to everyone who sponsored us and to the Co-Op for making it possible.

Our other efforts to collect sponsorship have been successful too. Initially we thought £1,000 might be an achievable target but we've been delighted by the level of support received whenever we've asked and we now look set to break the £2,000 barrier. Unfortunately we don't have room to mention everyone who has sponsored us individually, but some notable contributions have come from the following sources:

Marple Co-Op customers have sponsored us for £506.54
Loadtec Engineering Ltd have given us a cheque for £300
Marple Local History Society Members have sponsored us for a total of £259
Hawk Green Residents Association have pledged £100
BNFL have agreed to give us £100 match-funding
Washington Group International have agreed to give us £100 match-funding
Darryl Reardon has sponsored us for £1 per mile!
AMG Video Productions are providing us with a camper van

To all of the above, and everyone who has sponsored us so far, we're extremely grateful. At this stage we've no idea how many people have downloaded the on-line forms and are collecting sponsorship on our behalf, although we do know that they are doing the rounds at Marple Fire Station and Stockport Council's Offices. We're looking forward to learning how these have done in the near future. In the meantime, the Iron Bridge Fund currently stands as follows:

Community Raised Funding
c/f from 14 April £2456.00
New Sponsorship* £973.54
Funds available £3429.54
Funds Committed (Phase 1) £3400.00
Total Funds Raised £6829.54

* Only includes sponsorship received, see below
Sponsored Walk Funding @ 2/5/04
Total sponsorship received £1138.54.00
pledged but not yet collected £779.00

Donations plus pledges so far £1917.54

13 May 2004

As those of you who've been following the daily updates will know, we successfully completed the sponsored walk on Thursday 13th May, arriving at the Iron Bridge in Shropshire at around 3.00 pm. If you didn't follow the daily updates you can catch up with the details of our journey in a blow by blow account by clicking the photograph below:

The job's done!
Iron Bridge to Iron Bridge Sponsored Walk. The job's done!

29 May 2004

Sponsorship money is still coming in from a variety of sources and the people who told us that collecting it could be a harder task than the walk itself certainly had a point! We've now received the bulk of it and although we've not quite broke through that £2,000 barrier yet, we're sure that we will. It's become impossible to keep totting up the money pledged but still to be collected as the sponsor sheets are out with so many different people, so our latest figures below now only cover the money actually received.

While we were away the Ring o' Bells quiz on Wednesday 12th May was presented by Andy Glossop, of AMG Video Productions, who also lent us the motor home for our trip. Andy has been extremely helpful to us and did a sterling job at the Ringers by collecting a further £71.50.

The Iron Bridge Fund currently stands as follows:

Community Raised Funding
c/f from 2 May £3429.54
Ringers Quiz 12/5/04 £71.50
New Sponsorship* £788.00
Funds available £4289.04
Funds Committed (Phase 1) £3400.00
Total Funds Raised £7689.04

* Only includes sponsorship received, see below
Sponsored Walk Funding @ 29/5/04
Total sponsorship received £1926.54

10 June 2004

The majority of the money for the sponsored walk has now been received, however, we still know of a couple of people who've been collecting on our behalf and haven't yet passed the money on. There are also still a few stragglers on our own sponsor sheets that we'll catch up with eventually. We've certainly crashed through that £2,000 barrier and are now quietly hopeful that we may reach £2,500!

Worthy of special mention are local artist Malcolm Melia, who has collected over £100 on our behalf, and Darryl Reardon from New Zealand who has given us a personal cheque for £90 - no worries mate!

The Iron Bridge Fund currently stands as follows:

Community Raised Funding
c/f from 29 May £4289.04
New Sponsorship* £444.20
Funds available £4733.24
Funds Committed (Phase 1) £3400.00
Total Funds Raised £8133.24

* Only includes sponsorship received, see below
Sponsored Walk Funding @ 10/6/04
Total sponsorship received £2370.74

16 June 2004

Today we were filmed at the Iron Bridge by a TV crew from the Community Channel for a programme they are making about local community heritage projects. We were also filmed at the Ring o' Bell in the evening during one of our fun quiz nights, which raised £79.55 towards the restoration fund. We'll include more information about the TV programme once available.

7 July 2004

Another busy period has seen the restoration fund continue to grow steadily. Last night's fun quiz at the Ring o' Bells raised an excellent £100 and an author producing a book about changes around the M60 has donated £25 for the use of several photographs of Marple Hall from our Virtual Tour Gallery. As many of you will know we recently attended the Carnival, All Saints' Summer Fair and the Canal Festival. The profits / commission on sales of Gordon Mill's Changing Face of Marple Video and Ann Hearle's Marple & Mellor book have been donated to the fund. In addition several people made individual donations, including one from All Saints' PTA.

An early shot of the Iron Bridge in Brabyns Park. Notice the spiked gate still in place. From Marple Local History Society Archives.
An early shot of the Iron Bridge in Brabyns Park. Notice the spiked gate still in place.

Our sponsored walk money has continued to keep coming in and the grand total raised now stands at £2538.74, with just a few more pounds to collect. One one the next tasks is to claim back the tax from the Inland Revenue on those contributions where people who sponsored us ticked the Gift Aid box!

The Iron Bridge Fund currently stands as follows:

Community Raised Funding
c/f from 10 June £4733.24
New Sponsorship* £183.00
Ringers Quiz 16/6/04 £79.55
Ringers Quiz 07/7/04 £100.00
Donations £18.20
Sales Commission £59.84
Marple Hall photos £25.00
Funds available £5198.83
Funds Committed (Phase 1) £3400.00
Total Funds Raised £8598.83

* Only includes sponsorship received, see below
Sponsored Walk Funding @ 07/7/04
Total sponsorship received £2553.74

8 July 2004

As mentioned earlier, during two days last month we were filmed at the Iron Bridge, and at the Ring o' Bells quiz night on 16th June, by the Community Channel for a TV programme that ties in with the new BBC series, 'Restoration'. The purpose of the programme is to show what is happening in several community led projects around the country and to encourage other people to get involved to try and save their own heritage. Our Iron Bridge Restoration Project diary was discovered on the Internet by CC's researchers and, after an initial visit from the show's producer Coumba Fergusson, we were selected as one of four projects to be featured in the half-hour programme, which is called 'Restoration: You make it happen'

A number of local volunteers were filmed, as well as Peter and me, and hopefully it will be interesting and gain some good publicity for the Iron Bridge's restoration.

The Community Channel was broadcast 24 hours a day on Sky Digital (Channel 585) and Telewest (Channel 233) and on NTL (Channel 14) between 10 am and 4 pm each day. The programme itself was shown every day for a week, commencing on Monday 12th July.

The Community Channel did provide a Real Player video trailer for the programme. Unfortunately we didn't feature on it and it is so tiny it hasn't been included in the migration to this site.

24 July 2004

The TV programme on the Community Channel is still running at the moment and you have another week or so to catch it being broadcast. The programme is very interesting and our Northwest region is well represented with features on Stockport's Plaza and Hayfield's Sheep Wash, as well as Marple's Iron Bridge. The forth project is about a man called Steve Hunt who is not just investing time but also substantial amounts of his own money to achieve his dream of restoring Colwyn Bay's Victoria Pier.

The Community Channel has kindly given us permission to use the part of the TV programme featuring the Iron Bridge on the web site, so you can now watch it in your own time as often as you wish! Click here to view our part of the programme.

Marple Places