Peter Pan will be making a flying visit to London next week when he brings a little bit of Neverland magic to Parliament. Local MP Richard Arkless will be hosting the Peter Pan Moat Brae Trust at Westminster on Monday 14th March alongside our Patron Joanna Lumley.
Mr Arkless said: “Moat Brae House and Garden inspired one of the greatest children’s stories of all time and I have been hugely impressed by the vision which is being realised through its restoration.”
“Everyone involved in fundraising has worked so hard to make the Peter Pan dream come alive again right in the heart of Dumfries. £5.3million has now been secured but there is still a little way to go to reach the £5.8million target.”
Mr Arkless who tabled an Early Day Motion in November calling on the UK Government to recognise the important work of the Peter Pan Moat Brae Trust in Dumfries, said that this event would be a “fantastic opportunity to showcase all that had already been achieved and highlight their future plans – we also hope some of our more esteemed guests on the evening may be tempted to dig deep and help the Trust finish the job.
“Introducing my colleagues at Westminster to the magic of Neverland will be absolutely my privilege. I am confident that even more people will get behind this exciting project once the they learn more about the ambitious plans that the Moat Brae Trust team have to create an inspiring national centre focused on children’s literature. The anticipated visitor numbers in the ten of thousands each year have the potential to transform Dumfries Town Centre which definitely needs more visitors and more investment.”
Cathy Agnew, Project Director, said: “This is a great chance to be able to raise the profile of the whole project and bring it to the attention of a much wider public. We’re looking for a wide range of support, both financial and in-kind; not just for now, but also for the long term to ensure that whatever we create is sustainable for years to come.”
Moat Brae was acknowledged by J.M. Barrie as being the inspiration for Neverland. From the ages of 13 -18, James Matthew Barrie played pirate games with his friends in the ‘enchanted land’ surrounding the grand Georgian house at Moat Brae. Later he was to say that the 5 years he spent in Dumfries in the 1870’s were ‘the happiest days’ of his life.
The unique environment and the experiences Barrie had in Dumfries undoubtedly strongly influenced his astonishingly successful writing career.
Mr Arkless added: “It’s going to be an awfully big adventure and I am certain that once completed, Moat Brae House will spread its magic through this entire area of Dumfries – and indeed the wider Region.”