Author backs Clarke Hall fight

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BEST-selling author Joanne Harris has joined the fight to save Clarke Hall from closure.

Time is running out to save Wakefield’s living museum, on Aberford Road, as funding is due to run out next Friday.

The former Wakefield Girls’ High School pupil and author of best-selling novel Chocolat has called on Wakefield Council to save the 17th century gentlemen farmer’s house.

It holds a special place in her heart after she did work experience there as a teenager.

She said: “There is nothing like Clarke Hall and once it is gone there will never be anything like it again.

“It’s a wonderful place where not just children but also adults always experience something magical.”

On Wednesday she took to social networking site Twitter to express her concern about the possible closure.

She tweeted: “I worked there for a blissful six weeks when I was 17, and it has stayed in my mind ever since.

“It’s a place that lights up the faces of children who have never seen a live hen, or baked a loaf of haver-bread, or listened to a story.”

Almost 500 people have joined a group called Save Clarke Hall Museum, which was set up by the Friends group earlier this year.

This week the headteacher at The Mount J&I School, on Thornes Road, joined calls to find more funding.

Sarah Talbot said: “This is a valuable resource for schools and the children get a fantastic amount out of a day at Clarke Hall.

“We need to be able to keep giving the children this opportunity to step back into the past. It really is a fantastic place.”

Clarke Hall was built in 1680 and has been used as an education centre since the 1960s.

Wakefield Schools’ Forum recently voted to axe the £242,000 direct schools grant which provides the majority of funding for Clarke Hall.

To join the Friends’ group campaign visit Facebook and search for ‘Save Clarke Hall’.