Major pledges give Tim Stead Trust new hope

Two huge pledges of cash have given the Tim Stead Trust a glimmer of hope in its bid to save the artist’s remarkable home for the public.

Tim Stead’s widow Maggy outside the Steading in Blainsle.
Tim Stead’s widow Maggy outside the Steading in Blainsle.

Last month, the Southern reported that the refusal of the National Heritage Memorial Fund to award a grant of £450,000 to the trust meant the home in Blainslie was likely to go to a private bidder.

However, a number of substantial offers of financial help have re-ignited hopes.

On Monday, November 17, the trust received a £50,000 pledge from someone who had never even visited the Steading, but thought it so special that it needed saving.

Then, two days later, trust chair Nichola Fletcher received a phone call from another individual who had read the desperate story in the Times newspaper.

He also had never seen the Steading, but had such happy memories of Café Gandolfi (designed by Tim Stead in 1974), that he was moved to help and has offered £250,000 as a pledge.

The Southern understands both donors are from the North East of Scotland.

The trust has subsequently had two more offers, each of £10,000. These pledges, coupled with monies already received, mean that the trust now has to raise around £180,000 in order to meet the purchase price and pay for immediate repairs, within a three-month deadline of February 2021.

There is now serious hope that the trust will succeed, and in the meantime, a crowd-funder is to be set up.

Nichola said: “It has been quite a roller-coaster journey over the past few months with our hopes raised and then dashed, only for them to be again raised by the amazing generosity of some private donors, for which we are immensely and indescribably grateful.

“We would make a further appeal for help to save this unique cultural asset and note that any donation, of whatever size, is important and gratefully received.”

She added: “We know that times are hard for many businesses, but we also know that not all have been adversely affected by the pandemic and we also know that some businesses have a charity policy.

“So if any business (local or national) finds our project worthy, it would be wonderful if they could contact us.”