SUPPORTERS of the Yorkshire Dales Mining Museum at Earby fear it will close and its unique collection scattered following the ending of an annual grant.

The museum, housed in the listed former Earby Grammar School or Robert Windle Free School, is now in desperate need of new sponsors if it is to continue even for the next few months.

It also needs more volunteers to boost its current numbers of just six so it can open more frequently than just weekends and bank holidays.

Treasurer Rosemary Carroll, Pendle’s Earby councillor, said it was a des- perate situation which was currently being reviewed on a monthly basis.

The annual Pendle Council grant of £2,500 had covered insurance costs and, without it, the museum is having to dip into its own reserves.

“It was the only grant we got over the years, but it did cover our insurance costs and if we can’t get a new sponsor, we will have to close,” said Coun Carroll.

“There is a cafe, which is a big fundraiser, and visitors are charged admission – £2.50 for adults and £1 for children. The grounds are beautifully maintained by a volunteer and former land- scape gardener, and the cafe is a place where ramblers enjoy end-of-walk refreshments.”

The museum opened in 2006. It is housed in the 16th century former grammar school building which remained as a school until 1910.

The current owners, The Robert Windle Foundation Trust, let the museum use the building at a peppercorn rent. Alan Butterfield, a founder member of the Earby Mines group, said it would be a great loss if the museum was to close.

“This is the biggest collection of lead mining artefacts in this area and if it has to close, that collection will go,” he said.

Anyone able to help with sponsorship or their time should contact Coun Carroll on 01282 844127, or visit during opening hours at the museum on Saturdays, Sundays or Bank Holidays from 11am to 5pm.