This is a heartwarming story whereby local community pressure has paid off big time ... Tiverton's cinema 'The Tivoli' was in danger of permanently closing when proprietor Mike Jackson decided to retire last August - at the same time as the lease expired. The Tivoli built in 1932 is very much the archetypal small family cinema much loved by the local community and without it film lovers would be looking at going to Taunton or Exeter I suppose for their entertainment. In this instance a group of dedicated enthusiasts galvanised support in their campaign to keep their cinema open: they put up a website which you can see here and got the support amongst others of Dame Helen Mirren! Even I have heard of her. Amazingly the group managed to get a petition, paper and email signatories, of almost 10,000 and by a tremendous amount of imagination and dedication have now seen the future of this cinema assured. It has been purchased by Merlin Cinemas Ltd who have now got nine cinemas in Devon and Cornwall together with somewhat strangely one in Cromer, Norfolk.
I have to say that I am not a film buff myself but nevertheless passionately believe in our communities having entertainment facilities in their midst. In Tavistock for instance, just 4 miles from here, we have 'The Wharf' which both shows films and puts on live entertainment; this is where I would go on those extremely rare occasions when I get the urge to see a film.
Two important points I want to make in conclusion: firstly I am very great believer in the smaller types of community so typical of my two counties which not only have unique identities but a sense of common purpose when some sort of facility is under threat. Secondly this particular situation that Tiverton found itself in does demonstrate how useful the internet is in getting information out to the wider audience. Bravo Tiverton, you really deserve your success!