Blake appeal is set to reach £100,000

CAMPAIGNERS seeking to buy Blake’s Cottage in Felpham have their sights set on hitting £100,000 in donations.

The appeal to purchase the thatched building where William Blake wrote the inspiring words of Jerusalem has raised £81,000 so far.

Donations continue to come in from far and wide as the fundraising enters its final month.

Rachel Searle, the chairman and founder of the Big Blake Project, said: “It will be good if we keep on growing at this current level.

“But we need to raise as much awareness of the campaign as possible on a national and international level.

“Jerusalem is a song for everybody and we want to buy Blake’s Cottage for everybody.

“We had one donation recently from a woman in Melbourne who used to live in Felpham. She didn’t realise then that Blake had lived there.

“That shows why we need to raise his profile in this area.

“It shouldn’t take people moving to Australia to know that Blake lived in Felpham.”

Donations have come in all shapes and sizes from five-figure sums from organisations to £1 and £4 donations by text.

“A lot of people have got memories associated with Jerusalem,” said Felpham resident Rachel. “Some had it played at their weddings.

“For others, the words ‘green and pleasant land’ remind them of this country.

“A lot of people are making donations because they live around Bognor and want to see somewhere permanent dedicated to Blake to celebrate his heritage.

“There is nowhere at the moment.”

The cottage on Blakes Road was the home of the poet and mystic from 1800-03 and was the only place he lived outside London.

The Blake Society has secured an option to buy the Grade II-listed building for £520,000.

The deadline to raise the money has been extended slightly to November 28. Rachel said she was hopeful the target would be reached even though so much remained to be raised.

“I believe it’s achievable.

“Everything is going in the right direction and we’ve done well so far considering neither the Blake Society or the Big Blake Project have done anything like this before.”

The project is also set to re-launch 
the Blake Art Trail through Felpham and Bognor Regis later this month. This links Flepham to Bognor Regis with sites linked to Blake.

Donations to the cottage appeal should be made at: www.justgiving.com/BigBlakeProject