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Last Updated: Friday, 5 September, 2003, 06:16 GMT 07:16 UK
Historic sites' restoration bid
Parys Mountain on Anglesey
A Bronze Age copper mine is one of the Welsh contenders
Three historic sites in Wales will mount their TV challenge for restoration glory on Friday.

All three - a Bronze Age copper mine and historic hall, both in north Wales, and a former townhouse in the south - are competing in the Welsh leg of the BBC series Restoration.

They are among 30 dilapidated buildings and heritage sites from around the UK which are being featured in the interactive 10-programme series.

Viewers are asked to vote for one site to win enough money from a special fund to save it from dereliction.

Parys Mountain - including nearby Amlwch Port - in Anglesey and Faenol Old Hall near Bangor, a few miles away, are two of the Welsh contenders vying for the multi-million pound prize.

Faenol Old Hall near Bangor dates back to the 1550s

Llanelly House in Llanelli - said to be one of the finest examples of an 18th Century townhouse in the country - is the third venue exposed to the vote.

Already an inner city swimming baths in Manchester, a non-conformist chapel and a Scottish castle are among those regional winners which have reached the Restoration final.

A survey for the series, presented by Cardiff-born Griff Rhys Jones, found that 72% of people in Wales said they felt depressed by empty derelict historic buildings in their area.

Each venue has an " advocate" to sing its praises.

Changing Rooms interior designer Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen is supporting Llanelly House - for the building itself, the impact of a restoration programme and for its architecture.

Pink fur

He also warns that if the programme's viewers do not save it he will buy it.

"I will paint it purple, I will cover the roof in pink fur fabric, and I will sell it to Kylie for 65 billion," says Llewellyn-Bowen.

Anglesey-born Euro MP Glenys Kinnock meanwhile is the celebrity advocate who is "passionate" about Parys Mountain's bid.

Copper mining took place at Parys Mountain from as far back as the Bronze Age until 1915.

Llanelly House, Llanelli
Llanelly House could be developed as a cultural and heritage centre

"Where else in Britain, where else in the world indeed, could you go and actually see the Bronze Age workings, see where the foundations of the British Industrial Revolution were laid?" she said.

Actor Robert Hardy, meanwhile is championing the Faenol Old Hall.

Thought to date back to the 1550s, the hall was home to local aristocratic families until 1980 when it was sold at auction and later fell into disrepair.

Now the estate is the venue for an annual summer weekend concert organised by opera star Bryn Terfel.

"Faenol is remarkable for its ability to take you into the past," said Hardy.

The winner from the Welsh heat will progress to a UK final at the Tower of London later this month.

Then the public will decide on the project most worthy of the multi-million pound restoration.

Restoration is screened on BBC 2 on Friday 5 September at 2100 BST.


SEE ALSO:
Venues vie for TV votes
02 Sep 03  |  North West Wales
Town landmark's history traced
01 Sep 03  |  South West Wales
Comedian hosts house vote
22 Mar 03  |  Wales
Chapel could win 1.6m makeover
30 Aug 03  |  Staffordshire


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