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Adrian Cooper

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This is an appeal for help really. I have just taken over as manager of the place that used to be called Bentley Wildfowl and Motor Museum, near Lewes in East Sussex. Maybe some of you know the place? Bentley has been closed since October last year and the exotic birds have gone from the reserve and the cars from the museum. I’m still working on the website but our facebook page (just search Facebook for Wild Bentley) gives details of our aims. To cut a long story short, Wild Bentley will be run as a charity and it will have several different objectives. The 32 acre, fox-proof fenced enclosure will be a reserve for endangered native species and we will aim to reintroduce some lost species too. If you have heard of the work being done at the Knepp Estate or know about ‘rewilding’ then you will know what we are aiming for. The woodland outside the reserve will be used for ‘green therapy’ in several forms. These therapies have been proven in Scandinavia for many years and the concept is gaining favour with UK GPs who are fed up with proscribing anti-depressants. If any of you have had the misfortune to have a teenager with any mental health issue then you will know that timely help from the NHS is impossible to get; they are simply overwhelmed. 

The bit that may be most interesting to my fellow petrol heads is the motor museum. Almost all the cars were privately owned and the owners had to remove them when it closed. Many of them, and several new owners, are keen to bring their cars back in time for the relaunch next Easter. I want to make the museum have a focus on the future of motoring and sustainable technologies as well as the history. I have had meetings with the Head of the Automotive Engineering course at Brighton University and he is very keen to work on projects with the museum with a view to getting young people interested in engineering. But, before I can get any cars or exhibits back I need to redecorate the museum and re-paint the floor, all 1,200 square metres of it. I have a small team of volunteers who are fantastic but I could do with more….. Do you live anywhere near East Sussex? Would you be able to spare and time at a weekend to come and help? Would you be interested in joining the volunteer group to staff the museum when it is open to the public next year? Do you or does anybody you know have a classic car that would be suitable for the museum? Are you interested in conservation and wildlife? Could you help us to clear 100s of metres of fencing out of the reserve? Are you a keen gardener who could help with restoring the formal gardens? Do you have any expertise in any aspect of nature that would make you a good guide for tours of the reserve when it reopens to the public? If not yourself, do you know of anyone who has time and interest in any of these areas?

Thank you for reading this over-long post and thanks to Kevin for allowing me to place it here. Have a look at the Wild Bentley Facebook page www.facebook.com/Wild-Bentley-115974363104333 and PM me if you are interested in any aspect or can help in any way.

Thank you


Edited by Adrian Cooper
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Hello Adrian,

As you know I am keen supporter of the venue, including your excellent efforts and undertaking - congratulations.

It goes without saying you have my full support and happy to assist in any way I can.

You already have my personal contact details and I look forward to helping you forthwith.

Best wishes.


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