AN ancient castle in need of repair, now has its own army of supporters. Volunteers have joined forces to create the Codnor Castle Preservation Society, and together they hope to preserve the 800-year-old ruin for generations to come.
The group has been developed by ex-soldier Gavin Chamberlain of Norman Road, Ripley. He started his campaign to save the castle earlier this year with an eventual aim of the castle being reopened to the public as a tourist attraction.
Gavin said: "We have had our first committee meeting and this generated a lot of interest. At our first meeting about 40 people turned up to show their support. Things are moving forward nicely and we have more meetings planned."
The new group has been welcomed by Codnor Parish Council. Council chairman Cllr Anna Moon said: "The parish council is keen to support the preservation of the castle and the new group has our full backing."
Codnor Castle was placed on the Castles at Risk register in May 1998. The inclusion of the castle on this list means the building is in immediate risk of further rapid deterioration.
Gavin added: "Something needs to be done to save the castle and stop it from deteriorating any more. I am pleased that we have been able to set up the preservation society and as the society develops, hopefully we can start to put in plans for the future of the site.
"My main goal is that the castle will be reopened to the public so visitors can once again walk among the walls of Codnor Castle safely, and to insure that our local heritage is preserved for generations to come."
By Stephen Sinfield