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Last Updated: Sunday, 14 September, 2003, 10:48 GMT 11:48 UK
3m at stake in viewer vote
Llanelly House
Llanelly House - in the running for 3m restoration funding
The countdown to saving one of 10 crumbling architectural gems is under way on Sunday.

And the deputy mayor of Llanelli Nigel Bevan is leading a coachload of 50 supporters of Llanelly House, one of the finalists in BBC2's Restoration programme.

"Built in 1714, this is the oldest town house in Wales," said Mr Bevan. "We've been looking at restoring it for the past two years. It would need 3m to bring it back to its former glory."

The final is taking part at the Tower of London and Mr Bevan's party of supporters travelling there include town councillors, members of the local historic society and others working on the restoration of the house.

In the ninth programme of the ten-part series which featured three Welsh buildings, presenter Griff Rhys-Jones called on viewers to choose between Llanelly House and two other buildings in Wales - Vaynol Old Hall in Gwynedd and Amlwch Port and Parys Mountain in Anglesey.

Symbol of wealth

Llanelly House was at the cutting edge of architectural design when it was built in 1714 and an impressive status symbol of power and wealth for the tiny fishing town.

Commissioned by the town's leading family - the Stepneys - the house has been sadly neglected and is now in a dilapidated condition with its glories boarded up.

Now Llanelly House will now become one of 10 buildings to be featured in the live final at the Tower of London on Sunday, September 14, at 2100 BST on BBC Two.

A nationwide vote will decide which building should be given a new lease of life with money raised throughout the course of the series.

Jennifer Stewart, Heritage Lottery Fund Manager for Wales said today: "The restoration of Llanelly House, one of the finest early Georgian townhouses, will be an exciting project not only to restore the building but to find it a long-term use which has meaning for the area.

The winner will be announced on Sunday during the live final broadcast from the Tower of London.

Tower of London
Tower of London - hosting the final of Restoration
Phone votes during the show's five-week run have generated piles of cash to enable restoration. and a further 3 million from the Heritage Lottery Fund will also help to secure the winner's future.

Other finalists include an art-nouveau swimming pool in Manchester that has been derelict for a decade and a grand Methodist hall in Stoke now fallen into disrepair.

Griff Rhys-Jones said: "Restoration has been a huge success. It's put conservation concerns on the agenda and I hope entertained a lot of people on the way."

Carole Souter, director of the Heritage Lottery Fund, added: "The way these 10 fantastic buildings have caught the public's imagination demonstrates just how passionate people really are about their heritage.

"Now it's up to the public to decide where their money should go."

Griff Rhys-Jones
Griff Rhys-Jones - presenting the Restoration final
Voting closes at 2210 BST on Sunday and the winner will be announced minutes later. A minimum of 17.9p from every 30p call will go to The Restoration Fund.

The Prince of Wales will urge the public to help rescue thousands of crumbling listed buildings around the country in a special message recorded for the finale.

Prince Charles, who has been keenly watching the show, is to remind viewers that while one historic site will be saved by the programme, much of Britain's architectural heritage remains at risk.

His five-minute message will be shown as part of the climax to Restoration.


SEE ALSO:
Llanelly House wins TV vote
09 Sep 03  |  Wales
Town landmark's history traced
01 Sep 03  |  South West Wales
Comedian hosts house vote
22 Mar 03  |  Wales


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