Visitor centre has an economic part to play – MP

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ABBOTSFORD HOUSE’S new visitor centre has been praised by Scottish Secretary and local MP Michael Moore, writes Bob Burgess.

He met representatives of the Abbotsford Trust which is overseeing a £15million upgrade of the former home of novelist, poet and local sheriff Sir Walter Scott.

The the £4million centre, which opened last month, is seen as a key element in restoring Abbotsford to the key-visitor status that it once enjoyed.

And Mr Moore believes that Scott’s home by the side of the River Tweed near Galashiels has an important role play in boosting the region’s economy.

He commented: “It is absolutely vital that we make the most of gems like Abbotsford to attract tourists to the Borders – and I am sure that this development will do exactly this.”

Abbotsford was awarded £5million in 2010 from the Heritage Lottery Fund to preserve Sir Walter’s collection of artwork, artefacts and books, and build the new centre.

Mr Moore said: “I have been tracking the progress of the redevelopment of Abbotsford since the trust was awarded the funding.”

He added: “So I am pleased to see the new visitor centre up and running.”

More than £12million has been raised as part of the trust’s campaign to save and develop Abbotsford. Major funders include the Heritage Lottery Fund, Scottish Government, Historic Scotland, Scottish Borders Council and Scottish Enterprise, as well as private individuals and charitable trusts.

Fundraising continues, with £2.5million still needed to meet the £15million target.