News » Sheikh Mohammed Al Maktoum helps Cornish village buy Church

Sheikh Mohammed Al Maktoum helps Cornish village buy Church

Friday 30 June 2017

GolChurch jpgAn audacious appeal to His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum the Vice President, Minister of Defence and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates, Ruler of Dubai and head of the global Godolphin horse racing empire spectacularly paid off for a Cornish community struggling to buy its village hall.


Villagers in Godolphin Cross, near Helston, said they were delighted His Highness Sheikh Mohammed agreed to cover the shortfall in their efforts to buy their Methodist chapel and schoolroom.


They seized upon a link from the 18th century when the second earl of Godolphin bred the legendary Godolphin Arabian in 1724. This horse was the founder of one of the three most important breeding lines in top class racing and the animal from which all the sheikh's horses are descended.


The Godolphin Cross Community Association would only say it had received help from a mystery "international donor" but, when pressed on the matter, association chairman Richard McKie admitted that a generous offer had been made by the sheikh.


He said: "It was Sheikh Mohammed. These kinds of things don't normally happen. It's a fairytale really. It's not often a sheikh steps in to help a Cornish village."


GolArb jpgBuoyed by their success, villagers are now launching a new fundraising campaign at their annual fete this Sunday in the grounds of Godolphin House – this time for £300,000 to pay for refurbishment of the chapel.


Villagers first asked Sheikh Mohammed for help last November as they struggled to raise enough cash to buy the chapel, which is the only community space in the village.


Its use as a village hall was cast into doubt after the Methodist Church announced in 2015 that it was selling off buildings around the Mount's Bay area. The news that Godolphin Chapel would close was revealed in April last year.


Mr McKie said it would not be appropriate to say much the sheikh had offered, but Cornwall Live understands the association has itself raised around £25,000 though events and donations towards the £90,000 needed to buy the chapel.


Mr McKie added: "This is amazing for us and it meant we were able to make an offer. It's been verbally accepted and we are just waiting for the solicitors now to do their work. This will allow us to turn the chapel into a proper community hub.


"We can't thank Sheikh Mohammed enough and we'd love to see him in this neck of the woods any time. He would be assured of a very warm welcome.


"I think this shows that he's interested in the history and values this Cornish link. He has put his money to help a community staring down the barrel of having nowhere to go for community events. We are thinking of using part of the chapel to explain about the link."


Villagers hope to buy Godolphin Methodist Chapel so they can continue using it as a community hall.


He said they were now focusing their efforts on raising more money to refurbish the chapel, including new toilets. Any plans for the chapel would first be put out for public consultation.


Mr McKie added: "We've still got a mountain to climb but we are in the game and we're building from strength to strength."


The association is now be launching its new campaign at the Godolphin Cross Annual Fete, to be held between 11am and 4pm on Sunday, July 2, in the grounds of Godolphin House. Entry to the gardens, courtesy of the National Trust, is free. There will be a dog show, stalls, food and entertainment and many other attractions.




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