PONTYPOOL Museum has launched an Easter Raffle to give it a ‘fighting chance’ of staying open following a funding shortfall, and a number of local businesses have backed their survival bid.

The raffle has been devised as a fun way to engage local people in the museum’s fundraising activities with a raft of prizes donated by Torfaen stores and museum supporters.

The Pontypool Park-based institution needs to raise more than £19,000 to help maintain essential museum services. This includes running costs and the purchase and safeguarding of valuable historical items on behalf of the people of Torfaen.

Sassy Hicks, fundraising officer at Pontypool Museum, called the generosity shown towards the cause “overwhelming”.

“We have received a tremendous response from the local businesses that we have approached for donations and prizes,” she said. “There are hampers of chocolate, easter eggs and boxes of luxury sweets to be won. You can see all the prizes on offer if you visit the museum.”

Donors include Thornton’s Cwmbran, Tesco Pontypool, Iceland Pontypool, Wilkinson’s Pontypool, Sainsbury’s Cwmbran, Booker Cwmbran, Morrison’s Cwmbran and museum staff and volunteers.

The museum has set a target of 1,000 new members this year to make up the bulk of funding which has been lost – with the Argus’ sister paper, the Free Press, campaigning on its behalf.

Trustees, members, staff, politicians and local historians have all spoken out in support, with one calling it the “heart of the borough”.

Pontypool RFC great Eddie Butler is also holding a fundraising talk for free on May 2.

Membership fees are £15 per year, or £20 for a family. Business, institution, or club fees cost £60. Gift aiding is also available and gives the trust an extra 25p from the government for every £1 donated.

Membership benefits include free entry to all exhibitions, ten per cent off selected books and gifts in the museum shop, exclusive invites to special events and exhibitions.

The Easter raffle tickets cost £1 per strip, to be drawn on April 16.

For more information or to support the museum’s fundraising appeals, call 01495 752036 or email pontypool museum@hotmail.com