Joanna Lumley, that New Avengers girl and tireless campaigner for Gurkhas' rights, is back on the campaign trail again: Her mission, to save Moat Brae, a late Georgian villa in the town of Dumfries, Scotland, and it's magical garden where a young boy called JM Barrie played and which inspired the magical world of Neverland in Peter Pan.
That was 140 years ago and now the villa and it's garden is in a derelict state. It was last used as a nursing home and has remained vacant for the last 14 years, since then vandalism and fly-dumping have taken it's toll. It was going to be demolished and social housing built in it's place, until saved by the efforts of the Peter Pan Moat Brae Trust.
The trust has now launched a global appeal for 4 million pounds to restore the house and garden to it's former glory and slap the title of 'The National Centre for Children's Literature' on it. To raise the money they have turned to the second Queen of Britain, the lady with the most gentle of exteriors, but within lurks the zeal of a hardened campaigner, Joanna Lumley.
Joanna has a holiday home nearby, so is familiar with the run down state of the property. the Peter Pan Moat Brae Trust have picked the perfect person for their fund raising effort, she fought for the Gurkha's right to retire and live in Britain, she is well on the way to charming the Chinese government out of Tibet and she safeguards the rights of indigenous people through Survival International. Who will dare say no to The Queen of Lumleyness when she asks for money to save this treasure of British literatary heritage?
JM Barrie never actually lived in the house, but he was friends with 2 boys who did and he spent many happy hours playing there. Indeed he called those 5 years he lived in Dumfries as one of the happiest periods in his life.
Want to learn more ? Then check out peterpanmoatbrae.org/