Published: 00:01, 07 November 2012 |
Updated: 09:43, 10 January 2014
An appeal to buy part of the White Cliffs of Dover has hit its target in just 133 days - two months early.
The appeal to raise £1.2million to purchase an 0.8mile stretch of the cliffs overlooking the Port of Dover was launched by the National Trust in June - with the KM Group as its media partner.
Donations poured in with an average £9,000 being raised every day. More than 16,000 people and organisations have supported the appeal, with an average donation of more than £40.
These included £200,000 from Dover Harbour Board and what are described as "significant contributions" from the Regatta Foundation, conservation organisation the Royal Oak Foundation and 16 National Trust supporter groups.
The appeal's success completes the missing link of coastline under National Trust care, linking a stretch of nearly five miles between the trust's visitor centre at Langdon Cliffs and South Foreland Lighthouse.
The fundraising drive was given a boost in July when a number of household names - including Dame Vera Lynn, Dame Judi Dench and the Dover-born soul singer Joss Stone - gave their support.
National Trust director-general Fiona Reynolds said: "Thanks to the generosity and support of thousands of people, we've reached our target nearly two months early.
"This appeal has tapped into something unique – the emotional connection that people have with special places such as the White Cliffs of Dover.
"The trust will now look to enhance the quality of access to this new land and build on some of the fantastic nature conservation work that has been carried out by the team on the ground."
NT regional media officer Michelle Cleverley said: "On behalf of all my colleagues, I would like to take this opportunity to thank the KM Group for the amazing support you have given us and the appeal."
Alison Burnett, a volunteer on the White Cliffs of Dover team, said: "There has been a real buzz around the appeal with this once in a lifetime opportunity to add the missing piece of the White Cliffs so that they are in the care of the National Trust.
"This chalky stretch of coastline symbolises so much for so many people and it's wonderful to think that we've managed to raise the money so that future generations can enjoy all that this unique place has to offer."
To celebrate the success of the appeal, the trust will be offering a guided walk from the visitor centre to South Foreland Lighthouse, which will be open to visitors, on New Year's Day starting at 11am.
There will also be a mini bus service available from the visitor centre to the lighthouse throughout the day.
The cliffs are also home to a rich array of wildlife, including the Adonis blue butterfly, rare coastal plants such as oxtongue broomrape and sea carrot, and birds including skylark, the only pair of breeding ravens in Kent and peregrine falcons.
Across England, Wales and Northern Ireland the National Trust looks after more than 720 miles of coastline. The Trust acquired its first stretch of the White Cliffs of Dover in 1968.
Hundreds of thousands of people come to visit the dramatic chalk cliffs every year with their wonderful views across the English Channel.
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