Future of Eston Nab secured for locals after fundraising success

Craig Hornby and his dog Meg at Eston Nab. He helped lead a campaign to buy the area for the public.

Craig Hornby and his dog Meg at Eston Nab. He helped lead a campaign to buy the area for the public.

First published in News
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Darlington and Stockton Times: Photograph of the Author by

A CAMPAIGN group have reached the peak of success when they raised enough money to buy Eston Nab.

The Friends of Eston Hills managed to raise £15,000 to enable them to buy the distinctive Teesside landmark after Lazenby Bank was put on the market for £425,000 last year.

The group where never going to be able to raise enough to buy the entire plot but did put a bid into the owner’s to purchase the pinnacle of the estate.

Found between Redcar and Guisborough the hills include some of most historically important sites in the region, including Group chairman Craig Hornby, who won awards for his film about the Eston Hills, A Century of Stone, which were iron-rich and helped fuel the Industrial Revolution, was delighted that their speculative bid was welcomed by the land’s owner.

He said: “We knew that raising £425k was a big ask but if we gave it a real go and managed to raise half then at least we could put in a cheeky offer. If it failed, we could use the funds for the clean-up and conservation work which is so desperately needed.”

Hundreds of online donations poured in from across Teesside while people also did sponsored walks, put on benefit gigs, sold raffle tickets, sold books of Eston hills poetry and over 500 Eston hills calendars to raise funds.

The group directly contacted the owner and pleaded with him not to sell.

Group secretary Rita Richardson said: "We had nothing to lose so we decided to put a bid in anyway. We didn't make it public because if we were successful, what a surprise it would be for people. We had a slim chance but it was a chance nonetheless and optimism won the day.”

Their passion for the area resulted in the owner offering them the chance to buy just the summit of the hills.

And after three months of legal process the sale has gone ahead and the group purchased the Nab on behalf of the people that will be kept in public ownership forever.

Mr Hornby said: "It would have been impossible without the hundreds who put their hands in their pockets, the landowner who went out of his way to accommodate us and the solicitors who worked for free. It’s amazing what people can do when they pull together for the benefit of everyone."

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