A total of £2m of grant money will be used to restore the historic Oakham castle and introduce an exciting events programme.
The Heritage Lottery Fund accepted a joint bid from Rutland County Council, Oakham Town Council and the Friends of Rutland County Museum and Oakham Castle on Friday last week.
The money will be used to carry out extensive restoration work, put in place an events programme and allow the castle to host re-enactments and living history. The work will be led by a project board formed by the organisations who submitted the bid.
Council leader Roger Begy (Con) said: “It’s hard to put into words how delighted everyone at the council and on the board is to have our bid approved by the Heritage Lottery Fund. We knew from the outset that this was an extremely competitive process and we have given 110 per cent on behalf of the local community to make this happen. It is very proud day for Rutland.”
The castle is one of the key tourist attractions in Oakham. It was in the spotlight last week when the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall visited. As is tradition for Royal visitors, the Duchess unveiled her own horseshoe to be placed next to the one her husband gave to Oakham in 2003.
Head of the Heritage Lottery Fund for the East Midlands Vanessa Harbar said: “Oakham Castle is, without doubt, one of Rutland’s finest heritage treasures. The stunning great hall is home to a unique collection of horseshoes dating from the 12th century, it attracts thousands of visitors every year.
“We felt it was timely to support essential restoration work to the site and also support the council’s plans to refresh the complementary activity and education programmes. Once the project is completed, we are confident the castle and historic town will continue to draw in both established as well as new visitors to the area.”