Bid to save Bede’s World: Funding campaign launched as volunteers stage gathering outside attraction

Historical interpreter Mark Barber from Black Gate Combat Academy talks to visitors during the event at Bede's World during one of the group's visits to the museum.
Historical interpreter Mark Barber from Black Gate Combat Academy talks to visitors during the event at Bede's World during one of the group's visits to the museum.

A campaign has been launched to re-open Bede’s World as volunteers who put their heart into helping the museum gathered to back the appeal.

The Jarrow attraction, which celebrated the life and times of the Venerable Bede, closed on Friday after its trustees said it could not longer operate due to “financial pressures.”

Bede's World in Jarrow.

Bede's World in Jarrow.

The Crowdfunder page has now been set to fund the efforts and also ease money troubles the 27 staff may be face after discovering they no longer have jobs at the museum.

On Saturday, volunteers who helped run activities gathered in the neighbouring park to celebrate the time and devotion they gave, and to back the funding campaign.

Some pulled on their Anglo-Saxon dress for the picnic,

Lily Hannington runs Black Gate Combat Academy, which staged re-enactment events at the site, and Wyle Fire, which teaches people about prehistoric survival skills, with her husband Gordon.

All the volunteers have said if they had any inclination about what was happening they would have found a way to help, because it’s such an important site.

Lily Hannington

She said: “It came as such a shock and we began speaking to the volunteers and what we can’t get our head around is the fact that it had such a big team of volunteers.

“If it had financial problems, they didn’t know.

“All the volunteers have said if they had any inclination about what was happening they would have found a way to help, because it’s such an important site.

“We wanted to do this event because we’ve worked there lots of times and met a lot of others and we started getting in touch through Facebook and thought it would be good to all come together.

Bede's World at Jarrow closed on Friday due to a cash crisis.

Bede's World at Jarrow closed on Friday due to a cash crisis.

“They’ve done so much to preserve this history for the future.

“We hope it reopens in some guise. It has hundreds of volunteers, art groups, Hive Radio, so between us there are hundreds who would help.

“We hope to draw attention to the fact that had Bede’s World took full advantage of their resources, and involved the community of volunteers they had, many believe the museum would not have had to close.”

She added she hopes South Tyneside Council, which owns the site, will see how important the museum is to so many people across the region.

Campaigners show their support for the appeal to reopen Bede's World.

Campaigners show their support for the appeal to reopen Bede's World.

The Crowdfunder page, which has already raised more than £800, states: “This museum was at the heart of our community and provided a sanctuary not only for the early history of Jarrow but for creatives and anyone who wanted to be a part of the community.

“Staff and volunteers gave everything to this museum.

“They made this museum so special to both me and everyone involved so it is them I would like us to think about when donating and the love and passion they have poured into this place.

“Please give whatever you can afford every penny is important and appreciated.”

The museum was run by a board through a charitable trust, which has gone into liquidation.

The group has said it is hoped the venue can reopen under new leadership.

Some of those who joined in the party to celebrate Bede's World's work and call for its relaunch.

Some of those who joined in the party to celebrate Bede's World's work and call for its relaunch.

Animals which were lived on its farm are now being cared for elsewhere

The council has said Bede’s World was closed, despite “substantial support” from the authority.

The ownership of the land and buildings has now reverted back to the council under the terms of its lease.

More details on the campaign can be found via www.facebook.com/groups/savebedesworldmuseum and donations can be made via www.crowdfunder.co.uk/save-bedes-world-museum/.

Supporters gather outside Bede's World's gates during Saturday's event.

Supporters gather outside Bede's World's gates during Saturday's event.