Manchester

Fight to save Bee Gees debut venue raises £250k

The Gaumont/Bee Gees Image copyright Google/BBC
Image caption The Bee Gees frst performed as The Rattlesnakes at the Gaumont cinema in Chorlton

Bee Gees fans have raised more than £250k in eight days to try to save a former cinema building where the band's famous brothers first performed.

The Stayin' Alive campaign was given until Saturday to raise enough funds to bid for the building in Manchester.

The group hopes to raise even more funds by 10 days time when it meets the building's owners the Co-op.

The Gaumont cinema in Chorlton was where the Gibb brothers made their live debut as The Rattlesnakes in 1957.

Now a funeral home, the site has been put up for sale by Co-op Funeralcare, and could make way for flats.

But the campaign organised by Chorlton Community Land Trust wants to turn the building into a community resource. The trust will meet Co-op officials on 18 November.

Image copyright Gibb family
Image caption The Gibb brothers performed as The Rattlesnakes before going on to form the Bee Gees in 1958

"We can't thank our supporters enough," it said in an update on the campaign website.

"But the good news doesn't stop there, the Co-op have given us another ten days to press on with our fundraising, so we have extended the timetable and set a new target of £500k, to help us raise as much as possible to put into the scheme."

Chris Peacock, who is leading the campaign, said: "Bee Gees fans still travel to get their photos taken next to the building, even though it's now a funeral home."

Campaigners hoper the venue could include a new GP practice on the site alongside a gym and affordable housing.

The Gibb brothers - Barry, Robin and Maurice - were born on the Isle of Man but later moved to Keppel Road in Chorlton, where the family lived for seven years.

Image copyright Manchester libraries
Image caption The Gaumont opened as a cinema in 1920 and closed in 1962, before becoming a funeral home

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