A Shakespearean actress, soul singing sensation, a world beating sailor and a passionate seafood champion have thrown their weight behind Britian’s National Trust’s biggest ever coastal appeal to acquire a stretch of the White Cliffs of Dover.
Dame Judi Dench, Joss Stone, Ben Ainslie and Rick Stein have joined thousands of people that have already supported the Trusts bid to raise £1.2 million to buy 1.35km of this much loved Kent coast.
Soul singer Joss Stone, who was born in Dover, said: “I love Dover and the White Cliffs. They mean so much to me and I hope that the National Trust raises enough money to buy the land for future generations to enjoy.”
The appeal was launched in late June to acquire this ‘missing link’ between the land that the Trust already cares for and enable it to be managed for the benefit of people and wildlife.
Fiona Reynolds, Director-General of the National Trust, said: "In just one month, thousands of people have backed our appeal and we’ve raised almost half of the money needed.
“This tremendous support shows the love we as a nation have for our special places – thank you to everyone who has contributed. We now need to keep going to make sure we reach the target and secure this piece of coastline for ever”.
Other high-profile figures that have given their support to the Trust’s campaign include actor Richard E. Grant, actor and TV presenter Tony Robinson, Comedian, presenter and Kent resident Paul O'Grady, Kent born and world famous fashion designer Zandra Rhodes, iconic singer from the 1940s Dame Vera Lynn, round the world yachtswomen Dame Ellen MacArthur and BBC Coast presenters Neil Oliver and Miranda Krestovnikoff.
Comedian and presenter Paul O’Grady said: "For the past 14 years Kent has been my home and I’ve come to really love the peace and quiet of the Kent countryside. It’s where I can relax and have some downtime. When the sun is shining and I’m out walking with the dogs it’s just fab – it feels like I’m on a permanent holiday.
“The White Cliffs are Kent’s most famous and stunning landscape and have a very special place in many of our hearts. I’m backing the National Trust appeal so that they will be secure forever, for all of us – I urge everyone out there to do the same.”
“Whenever I see the white cliffs of Dover, I think of the Matthew Arnold poem ‘Dover Beach’: the cliffs of England stand Glimmering and vast, out in the tranquil bay,” added Judi Dench.
Standing proud at over 110 metres (taller than Big Ben or the same height as twenty-five London buses stacked on top of each other), the White Cliffs of Dover have witnessed many dramatic moments in England’s history.
These include the arrival of the Romans and the welcome return of British armed forces after the evacuation of Dunkirk during the second-world war. The cliffs are also home to a rich array of rich wildlife including the Adonis blue butterfly, rare coastal plants such as oxtongue broomrape and sea carrot, and birds including skylark, the only colony of Kittiwakes in Kent and peregrine falcons.
“I thoroughly endorse the National Trust in it’s appeal to buy the ‘missing’ piece of The White Cliffs, so that they are saved in their entirety,” says Vera Lynn. “The sight of them meant so much to returning service men during the Wars, and they continue to be a huge part of the history of this Island, as they always have been.”
Hundreds of thousands of people come to visit the dramatic chalk cliffs every year with their wonderful views across the English Channel.
Across England, Wales and Northern Ireland the National Trust looks after more than 720 miles of coastline. The Trust acquired its first stretch of the White Cliffs of Dover in 1968 as part of its Neptune Coastline Campaign.
There are three easy ways that money can be donated to the appeal:
• Make a donation online and you can choose to have your name engraved on our virtual White Cliffs of Dover.
• You can text a donation to support the appeal. For example, if you wanted to donate £5 you’d need to text ‘DOVR02 £5’ to ‘70070’. The amount that you wish to donate must be included in the text.
• Make a donation over the phone by calling 0844 800 1895.
The Twitter hashtag #whitecliffs will be used on twitter to keep people updated about the progress of the appeal. The money needs to be raised by the end of the year to successfully buy the land and every donation can help take a stride forward to raising the amount needed.
Source: National Trust