Friends sneak preview of Sidmouth's restored Kennaway House

PUBLISHED: 16:54 15 May 2009 | UPDATED: 09:09 18 June 2010

HAVING raised £75,000 towards its restoration, it was only fitting the Friends of Kennaway House should be first through the doors to mark completion of the £1 million project.

HAVING raised £75,000 towards its restoration, it was only fitting the Friends of Kennaway House should be first through the doors to mark completion of the £1 million project.

Some 110 Friends crowded into the new Cellar Bar of the Regency building on Thursday evening to look round the house; once home to Sidmouth's first MP for East Devon, Sir John Kennaway, who served from 1870-1910.

Dr Michael James, chairman of Kennaway House, welcomed them and said: "The Friends have been an enormous support throughout the long process of fundraising.

"You have also helped greatly to raise the profile of the House, which was held in pretty low esteem in Sidmouth when we started in 2001."

He added: "Since their foundation seven years ago, the Friends have raised over £75,000 to go towards the restoration, which is an amazing achievement.

"We are very grateful to every Friend who has helped to bring that about."

After a glass of wine the Friends were the first ever visitors to tour the restored building.

The internal work is complete, although there are still curtains to be hung and furniture to arrive.

The lift is operating and the professional kitchen installed.

Friends chairman Jackie Street said: "Friends who could remember the old dilapidated Church House were completely blown away by the new Kennaway House.

"It far exceeded their expectation of what the restoration would achieve. Now they are looking forward to seeing the landscaped garden when it is finished at the end of May."

The Grade II* listed building and will be fully open again in June.


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