Burnley cultural hub named after volunteer 'Moira Preston'

This Is Lancashire: Moira Preston Moira Preston

A NEW £455,000 cultural hub has been opened as part of the newly-titled Burnley Arts Centre.

The Moira Preston Building was officially launched next to Burnley Youth Theatre, in Queen’s Park Road.

The building is named after the late Moira Preston, a volunteer at the theatre for 36 years, who helped secure funding for the ground-breaking theatre in 2005.

Dozens of people attended the opening ceremony, which saw the ribbon cut by the theatre’s youngest participant, Rose Hardacre, who is two.

Mandy Precious, the theatre’s artistic director, said it was a day of celebration in memory of Moira, who first became involved in the youth theatre when her son Anthony attended workshops in the 1970s.

Ms Precious said: “Always willing to help wherever she was needed, Moira was integral to gaining the funding for the 2005 theatre building which allowed Burnley Youth Theatre to become the first purpose-built youth theatre in the UK.

“When it became apparent that a second building would be needed, Moira was approached about it being named for her, as a symbol of the youth theatre's gratitude.

“She was humble about this – saying many other people had worked just as hard as her. Unfortunately she became ill and died before the building was finished, so the event is a very poignant one for Moira.

“And a chance for us to share our stories about her and the amazing impact she had on us.”

The opening of the Arts Council-backed building will see both it and Burnley Youth Theatre come under the umbrella name of Burnley Arts Centre, which aims to boost the cultural profile of the town.

Ms Precious added: “Moira dedicated her life to the youth theatre.

She was so unassuming, and quietly got on and did whatever was necessary to make the place a success.

“I know we are building on the shoulders of giants.”

Mrs Preston, of Red Lees Road, Burnley, died last July after a battle with cancer, aged 75.

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