A million pound appeal, launched by the National Trust to buy one of Wales’ most iconic farms has reached its target in just over seven months, raising more than £4,000 a day.
The fundraising drive to acquire the stunning 248 hectare (614 acre) Llyndy Isaf farm on the shores of Llyn Dinas near Beddgelert was spearheaded by Welsh Hollywood actor Matthew Rhys and supported by Catherine Zeta Jones. Llyn Dinas was the site of the legendary battle between the red dragon and white dragon with the former’s victory leading to mythical status as the emblem of Wales.
Matthew Rhys said: “We’ve made it. Thank you so much to so many of you who dug so deep and supported our campaign to save Llyndy Isaf, this very special farm in the heart of Snowdonia.
“You raised a million pounds which now means it will be cared for forever by the National Trust, and secures that future generations shall also enjoy it free from the threat of commercial development. Thank you so much.”
The plight of Llyndy Isaf sparked a number of other Welsh stars to join Matthew in urging the public to back the campaign. Screen siren Catherine Zeta Jones and leading man Ioan Gruffudd lent their support, as did TV wildlife presenters Iolo Williams and Kate Humble.
But it wasn’t just the celebrities who got behind the appeal as the National Trust’s Snowdonia Manager Rhys Evans explained.
“We have been completely bowled over by the response from public – it has been extraordinary how generous people have been. Despite these tough financial times they have really backed the appeal which really does show how much people care about protecting special places like Llyndy Isaf.
“So many also went that extra step and took on extraordinary challenges to raise money like Heather Letley and Matthew Jones who swam a lengthy section of the Thames, and Julie and Mark Allen who cycled Mont Vernox in France three times in one day.”
Over 20,000 people gave to the appeal which was boosted by a few large donations including £50,000 from the Newmans Own Foundation, £25,000 from the Countryside Council for Wales, £10,000 each from the Waterloo Foundation and Gaynor Cemlyn Jones Trust and £8,000 from the Royal Oak Foundation.
Llyndy Isaf lies in the beautiful Nant Gwynant valley, near Beddgelert. It is one of the most well-known and environmentally important stretches of countryside in Snowdonia, untouched by intensive farming and home to many threatened wildlife species of international importance such as kingfishers, otters and the chough.
Rhys Evans said: “The challenge was always to raise the money by the end of the year to secure the future of Llyndy Isaf. Now thanks to the generosity of so many we can begin consulting with the local community and the farming unions to decide on the next step for this special part of Wales.”
Video clips of Llyndy Isaf and Matthew Rhys can be viewed on the National Trust website www.nationaltrust.org.uk/wales