A LEADING East Lancashire theatre’s appeal to raise funds for a brand new roof has been given a major boost.

The Empire Builders Appeal aims to raise £25,000 for the project at the Thwaites Empire Theatre at Ewood.

The former cinema has been transformed from a virtually derelict shell to a thriving community resource in just over 10 years. The new roof will be the final part in the jigsaw.

Blackburn Musical Theatre Company, which rehearses at the adjoining performing arts centre and regularly stages shows at the theatre, has kick-started the appeal with chairman Gary Worthy handing over £1,000.

Theatre manager Paul Mason said: “This is a marvellous gesture from the society. The public has always responded magnificently to our appeals in the past and I’m sure they will get behind this one. We are hopfeul that more organisations and businesses will follow the theatre group’s lead and donate £1,000 but every penny we get is so valuable that no donation is too small. Our Just Giving site is now available too and I’d urge anyone making a donation to sign up to it as their donations will be worth even more.”

Theatre volunteer David Lloyd who often works front of house for shows also presented a substantial donation but requested that the amount is not revealed. For more on the Empire Builders Appeal visit www.thwaitesempire theatre.co.uk.