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Last Updated: Sunday, 14 August 2005, 16:13 GMT 17:13 UK
Austen fans boost visitor numbers
Basildon Park courtesy of Mark Simmons
Basildon was built in 1783 and was given the National Trust in 1977
A stately home featured in a big-budget movie version of Pride and Prejudice is appealing for help to deal with an expected surge in visitor numbers.

Basildon Park, near Pangbourne in Berkshire, was closed for seven weeks while the adaptation of Austen's novel starring Keira Knightley took place.

More than 50,000 people a year visit the house, but staff believe thousands more will come because of the movie.

Volunteers are needed as guides and stewards in the 18th Century mansion.

Mark Simmons, manager at Basildon, said: "Without the continued support of all our volunteers we would not be able to open the property to the public.

"The forthcoming release of Pride and Prejudice is expected to bring many more people to Basildon Park and we want to be ready to welcome them with a full complement of volunteers."

The film is due to be released in the UK in mid-September.

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