John Peel Centre in Stowmarket appeals for £25k before Christmas

His widow Shelia Ravenscroft is hoping to raise the money to improve the arts centre set up in his memory.

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The John Peel Centre in Stowmarket hopes to raise £25,000 before Christmas through supporters' pledges.

The project to transform the town's Corn Exchange into an arts centre was awarded £500,000 for the next phase of its £1m development last month.

But organisers now hope to raise a further £25,000 by 25 December through "crowd-funding".

This is a scheme in which supporters pledge money in return for rewards such as an unseen footage of John Peel.

The radio presenter lived in the Stowmarket area for many years before his death in 2004.

'Amazed by goodwill'

Mr Peel's widow Sheila Ravenscroft is patron of the new centre.

"We are absolutely desperate to raise these funds," she said.

"There are a lot of people who still feel very fondly about John.

"That's one reason people may want to be a part of it."

Internal work to install a mezzanine floor, cafe, staging, and light and sound systems in the hall is due to begin in May.

The centre has already undergone some redevelopment work to enable a limited number of events to take place.

Charlie Gauvain, managing director of Eye Film and TV which produced a video for the scheme, said he knew the £25,000 target was ambitious.

"We have been amazed by the goodwill," he said.

"To make it to £25,000, some major things have got to happen."

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