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Last Updated: Monday, 9 August, 2004, 06:45 GMT 07:45 UK
Narrow miss for 'Memo' in final
Newbridge Miners' Hall and Institute
The hall is known affectionately as "the Memo"
Campaigners have pledged to continue the fight to restore a memorial hall which narrowly missed winning the BBC's Restoration contest.

Supporters of Newbridge Miners' Institute and Hall were disappointed at coming second in the Sunday night final.

They missed out on more than 3m to restore "the Memo" from ruin.

They beat Cardigan Castle and Llanfyllin workhouse to the final, but lost to a Birmingham grammar school.

The campaigners now hope that being the runner-up in the high-profile TV competition will help to kick-start their bid to save the historic buildings.

The hearts and minds of thousands have been captured by the proud solidarity of the community which built the Memo
Local MP Don Touhig
Supporters of the Memo had been campaigning for votes across Wales and in England, too.

A group of 15 volunteers spent time at the National Eisteddfod in Newport canvassing visitors in the hope of boosting voting.

Local MP Don Touhig said that the fight to save the hall had captured the community's imagination.

Mr Touhig, MP for Islwyn and Under Secretary of State for Wales, said: "We are winners. The campaign to save the Memo has given us a restored community spirit that all the money in the world cannot buy.

The politician convened the first public meeting in the Memo 15 months ago when over 200 people answered the call "to save the Memo."

"Newbridge Memo was the choice of the people of Wales," Mr Touhig said.

"The hearts and minds of thousands have been captured by the proud solidarity of the community which built the Memo. That is truly priceless.

"I cannot speak highly enough of the work that has been done by the volunteer "Friends of the Memo", who have taken the lead in making this wonderful facility the beating heart of the community once again."

The Secretary of State for Wales Peter Hain had also pledged his support to for the Newbridge bid.

"We in Wales cherish our communities and the Newbridge Memo and 'Stute is a living reminder of a community based around our rich industrial heritage," he said.

"Winning this would be a fantastic boost for the valleys and for Newbridge."

To be restored back to its former glory, the Memo needs 2.49m - exactly the amount on offer to the ultimate winner of the series.

In all, 21 buildings across the UK were featured in the series, which is presented by Griff Rhys Jones.

The winner last year was Manchester's Victoria Baths, which received 3m from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

BBC show saves medieval school
08 Aug 04  |  Entertainment
Memo hopes for Restoration win
08 Aug 04  |  Wales



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