Sir Richard Branson backs National Trust Bantham beach bid

Bantham beach, Devon
Image caption Richard Branson is "urging everyone to get behind" the Bantham Beach appeal

Sir Richard Branson has backed a National Trust bid to buy a Devon beach where he used to go fishing with his father.

The trust has launched a £2.6m appeal to buy Bantham beach and the Avon estuary, part of an estate currently on the market for £11.5m.

Writing on his blog, the multi-millionaire Virgin boss said he was "urging everyone to get behind" the appeal.

He has not made a donation of his own.

'Strong connection'

He said: "A lot of the UK's coastline is being overdeveloped and spoiled for future generations.

"We therefore need to get behind the National Trust in their campaign to save one of England's most beautiful and untouched beaches at Bantham."

The family-owned 750-acre (303 hectare) estate includes the beach, estuary and about 20 cottages in Bantham village.

The trust said it planned to maintain access for visitors to the beach and conserve the landscape of the wooded river valley.

Sir Richard said he had a "strong connection to Bantham, having holidayed there as a child".

Image copyright Virgin
Image caption Sir Richard Branson has not made his own donation to the appeal

He added: "My dad used to take me down there in a little bumpyed-bump car and we would catch sand eels to use as bait to go fishing for bass.

"My daughter, Holly has a number of good friends that live there."

The National Trust's Claire Bolitho said the trust was "very grateful" to Sir Richard for publicising the campaign to his four million Twitter followers.

Caroline Danks, the trust's fundraising manager, said £36,000 had been raised since the appeal was launched on Friday.

"There is still a long way to go and we would urge everyone who loves Bantham like we do to get behind us and help us raise enough money to buy Bantham Beach and Estuary," she said.

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