Take a seat for Byron

Campaigners from the Save the Byron Campaign appeal for seats.
Campaigners from the Save the Byron Campaign appeal for seats.

Dreams of bringing blockbusters back to the Byron could become a reality as support for the cinema gains momentum.

Only last month the I Love Hucknall group held a meeting asking residents and businesses to back its campaign to transform the historic building into a venue the whole community could enjoy.

Now, just several weeks later, and the group have enlisted the help of countless supporters who are ‘passionate’ about breathing new life into the town centre venue.

And with a seating sponsorship scheme successfully started and a lottery fund meeting in the pipeline it’s all systems go.

“So far we have been busy getting quotes for the equipment needed to re-open,” said Stuart Pockington of I Love Hucknall. “It will cost hundreds of thousands to achieve, so it won’t be easy, but then the group are really passionate and up for the challenge.

“The people of Hucknall are also giving us lots of support and it seems to be really pulling the community together, and when we re-open we will be creating a new legacy for the town.”

Despite the cinema retaining its 1960s projector, which is still working, the group hope to upgrade to a digital projector as this will allow the most recent films and also enable live sports events such as next year’s World Cup, Wimbledon and Formula 1 to be shown.

Stuart added: “It would also allow us to have video game tournaments displayed on the big screen, which would be great for the younger generation and big kids like myself.

“Further to this we would like to explore the possibility of making it a live events venue with bands, theatre groups etc, if we go digital there is so much we can do.

“We do not want to try and compete with the big chain multi screen cinemas, instead we want to create a unique venue, which has lots to offer to all ages and interests .”

One of the first things the group is doing is looking at ways to replace the seating, as all of the original seats were sold on ebay. But Ria Cash has sourced 240 1st class leather reclining seats from Airbus and as a way of paying for them, the group are offering local businesses and individuals the chance to sponsor a seat for £25 each.

“The response has been amazing with lots of businesses wanting 1, 2, 3 or more, and lots of local people wanting to sponsor one too,” said Ria who climbed aboard the scheme for nostalgic reasons. “For every seat purchased we will be putting a company/individual name onto the seat, offer sponsors free tickets and the chance to use them on opening night.”

There are 240 seats in total with 140 left to sell.

A meeting has been set up with the Heritage Lottery Fund in September to discuss the initial stages of the application process.

“Ideally we would like to be able to buy the building outright from its current owner, so in effect the people of Hucknall will own the historic building which so many people have fond memories of,” added Stuart.

“We have lots of really skilled people working on the project so I hope that by this time next year we will have it re-opened in one form or another and that I will be taking my children to watch films there during the 2014 summer holidays.”

Visit www.ilovehucknall.co.uk if you would like to sponsor a seat.