Letter of thanks to German organisation for €1m Iron Bridge donation
A mayor and a council leader have written a letter of thanks to a German organisation that helped to fund conservation work on Shropshire's iconic Iron Bridge.
The Hamburg-based Hermann Reemtsma Foundation made a €1 million donation to English Heritage to support the charity’s £3.6m restoration project, which is taking place over the course of the next year.
The foundation said the 238-year-old landmark served as a “potent reminder” of the continent’s common cultural roots and values and added that it seems “more important than ever” in the current climate.
Telford & Wrekin Council's leader, Councillor Shaun Davies, and borough mayor, Councillor Stephen Reynolds, have written to the organisation to thank them for the donation.
In the letter of thanks, Councillors Davies and Reynolds hailed the donation as a “magnificent gesture” which would “go a long way” to help secure the future of one of the world’s greatest treasures.
The letter reads: "Here in Telford, we are very proud of our borough’s role in the birthplace of the industrial revolution and the Iron Bridge is a beautiful historic symbol of those vital years in the development of the modern world.
“However it is not immune from the ravages of time and English Heritage’s repair project is essential to its long term future.
"Like any project of this nature, it comes with a big bill and so we are very, very grateful to the Herman Reemtsma Foundation for their generosity.”
English Heritage launched its first-ever crowd funding campaign on November 13, the first day of its conservation project on the bridge.
It very quickly hit its £40,000 target and now more than £45,000 has been raised.
More than 860 people have given money to the cause.
Councillor Davies said: "The public response to the appeal has been amazing and just demonstrates the affection that people have for the bridge and the Ironbridge Gorge World Heritage Site as a whole."
It is the first time the Hermann Reemtsma Foundation has funded a venture in the UK.
It more typically invests in projects in Germany and Poland.
The Iron Bridge is under threat from cracking due to stresses in the ironwork dating from the original construction and ground movement over the centuries.
Work is expected to run until November next year.
Work will take place on the iron radials and braces holding the bridge together, the deck plates and wedges, as well as the main iron arch itself.
The bridge will also be repainted to protect it for the future.