Tourist destination fights to fend off threat of closure

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A tourist attraction in the Yorkshire Dales is appealing for support to keep its doors open after lockdown.

Stump Cross Caverns, a family-run business open to the public since the caverns’ discovery by lead miners in 1860, has been hit hard by lock down closures and social distancing restrictions over the past 12 months.

Ticket sales alone are down by more than £350,000 as visitor numbers drop from an annual average of 60,000 to just 15,000.

To help prevent its doors closing for good, Stump Cross hopes to raise £53,000 in funds through its latest two-part crowdfunder appeal.

The first lets supporters pledge as little as £10 to enter a prize draw to win a 66 plate, Volkswagen T30, Campervan, donated by the Cavern’s owners, the Bowerman family.

Alongside this, in return for pledging £2, the second appeal offers the chance to take part in a £500 draw, with five prizes up for grabs.

Lisa Bowerman, owner of Stump Cross Caverns, said: “We’ve worked tirelessly to offer an outstanding experience to all our customers since we took ownership of Stump Cross Caverns 18 years ago.

“Sadly, with no clear opening date on the horizon, all of this is under threat unless we raise vital funds to keep us up and running.

“Our latest crowdfunder appeals will hopefully mean we can continue to welcome visitors to the Caverns for many years to come.

“By pledging donations, our supporters will not only have the chance to win some truly amazing prizes, including our very own state-of-the-art VW Campervan and five memorable Stump Cross experiences, but they will also be helping us and our local suppliers, continue trading and keep tourism alive in the Yorkshire Dales.”

Stump Cross is designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest. Bones of Ice Age creatures have been discovered in the caverns including reindeer, wolverine and bison and some are now on display in the visitor centre.

Its cave system extends well beyond the public access show caves, to an overall length of approximately 6km.

Many of the deeper caverns are only accessible to experienced cavers, but there are plans to open further sections in the future.

Donations to the crowdfunders and entry into the prize draws must be completed by noon on 30 March. Winners will be announced live from 8pm the following day.

For more information on the appeal and to purchase tickets visit https://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/vw-campervan-prize-draw–it-could-be-you or  www.crowdfunder.co.uk/prize-draw-win-up-to-5-prizes

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