SUPPORTERS of an East Lancs museum have launched a £25,000 drive to keep the venue at the forefront of exploration.

More than 80,000 people have been through the doors of The Whitaker, in Rawtenstall, since it relaunched in 2021.

And in the diary for this year alone are events celebrating the Chinese New Year, Haslingden activist Michael Davitt and Rossendale's ruins, alongside regular film nights, workshops and craft sessions.

But now leaders of the charity are looking for donations to keep their activities available for all.

A Whitaker spokesman said: "The people of Rossendale, and far beyond, have been enjoying The Whitaker for more than 120 years.

"Since our grand re-opening in 2021 we are proud to have welcomed more than 80,000 people through our doors

"Together, we dreamt, we designed, we celebrated special occasions, we explored new art together, and we inspired young minds through our exhibitions, collections, film nights, family activities, workshops, talks, community festivals and more.

"Now we need your help. We want to engage with more community groups, support more local artists, restore our collections, and keep The Whitaker free to enter.

"But to do that, we need your help. As everyone knows, costs have increased and that does not exclude us.

"That is why we are asking for your help to ensure the museum stays a jewel in Rossendale’s crown for generations to come."

The museum, located in a former industrialists' home dating back nearly 200 years, is part of Rossendale Leisure Trust, which has faced a number of financial challenges following the pandemic, like a number of East Lancashire venues.

The museum has a Just Giving appeal, which has so far collected more than £3,000 from well-wishers. Museum officials say if anyone would like to make a larger gift, or leave a gift in a, or sign a business up as a corporate partner, then they can e-mail