Theatre seats going back to the 'fu-chair' thanks to help from Leyland Masons

From left, Kieron Lowler, Winter Gardens Committee member, Susan Lomax, Winter Gardens Trustee, Stephen Jones, Chair of Friends of the Winter Gardens and John O'Neill Morecambe BID manager with the new seats for the Winter Gardens, Morecambe
From left, Kieron Lowler, Winter Gardens Committee member, Susan Lomax, Winter Gardens Trustee, Stephen Jones, Chair of Friends of the Winter Gardens and John O'Neill Morecambe BID manager with the new seats for the Winter Gardens, Morecambe

Hundreds of old theatre chairs that were thought to have been lost in 1982 have returned home - thanks to a Leyland organisation.

Morecambe Winter Gardens is launching an appeal to raise money to install the original seats from the theatre.

Earlier this year the theatre trustees were contacted by the Theatres Trust with the astonishing news that more than 400 of the original seats were now being used by the Leyland Masonic Hall, who were auctioning the seats on eBay.

Trustees of the theatre contacted the hall, who agreed to allow the Friends time to raise the necessary funds to bring the chairs back home.

With the help of local removal firm Edmondsons and the theatre’s volunteers, the last few weeks have seen more than 300 chairs returned to the theatre from their current home to enable time for the Friends of the Winter Gardens to launch a fund-raising campaign, which will see people able to sponsor the seats to help raise the cash needed to pay for them.

Chairman of the Friends Stephen Jones said: “We are delighted that the original seats have been found and we urge the local community to support us in sponsoring a seat.”

More than 300 chairs are currently on show in the Winter Gardens with early support pledged from Morecambe Business Improvement District (BID), who recently awarded a grant of Ł3,600 towards the purchase.

BID chair Tom Powney said: “It’s great that BID can play its small part in reuniting the original chairs with the Winter Gardens.”

In 1982 the original seating from the Grand Circle of the Winter Gardens was sold and presumed lost for ever.

Now nearly 40 years later, these unique chairs from the theatre were recently discovered and offered back to the theatre.

Leyland Masonic Hall, which purchased them in 1982, has extensively refurbished them so they are in excellent condition.

The Friends of the Winter Gardens have less than a year to raise the money required to return them back to the Grand Circle.

With help, it is hoped more 400 chairs can return home and be placed back in the theatre.