Town backs project for arts

Residents were out in force yesterday to show their support for the team aiming to turn a Stowmarket landmark into a creative arts centre.

The determined volunteers behind the John Peel Centre for Creative Arts, which would see the old Corn Exchange building dramatically transformed, invited everyone in the town to back their bid for lottery funding.

The project is being featured on the ITV1 programme People’s Millions and is in with a shout of winning up to �50,000 from the Big Lottery Fund.

An ITV crew was in the Market Place to prepare a film to be shown when the Peel Centre – named in honour of the late DJ, who lived locally – is featured later this month.

And there were street dancers, musicians, “bockers” – people performing stunts on bendy stilts – and children from three primary schools all showing off the town’s artistic talents.

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Andrew Stringer, a member of the board overseeing the project, said it was fantastic to see so many people get behind the Peel Centre and he called on everyone in Suffolk – and beyond – to vote on the night.

He said: “I think the event that happened today gave people in our area a flavour of what could happen here and perhaps a little insight into the future.

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“It clearly demonstrated to us the huge level of talent we have here and it was absolutely brilliant to have the children and the schools involved as well.

“This has given us a chance to show people who we are and what we are about. This isn’t just one person with an idea, there’s a whole group of people behind it, all dedicated to making it a reality.

“There is an awfully long way to go but people have been saying ‘you are on the right lines and we are behind you’ which is great.

“It is quite clear that the building needs it, the town needs it, we all need it.”

The team members were also selling limited edition Peel Centre T-shirts and after the market place performance, the crowd moved into the old Corn Exchange building for some live music from local band Overload.

Also on the board is Mr Peel’s widow Sheila Ravenscroft, who has been appointed the honorary patron of the centre.

The Peel Centre will be live on ITV1 on Thursday, November 25, and the vote line number will be revealed on the day.

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