A CHARITY dedicated to preserving Newport's historic Transporter Bridge is well on its way to reaching its fundraising target as it looks to support a bid for further Lottery funding.

Fundraising for the project restoring and repairing the bridge began at the start of June, and the Friends of Newport Transporter Bridge (FONTB) has already raised £3,300 of the £10,000 target.

FONTB, which currently has about 400 members, has pledged to raise at least £10,000 to support Newport City Council’s bid for further Lottery funding.

The bid for stage two funding requires the council to raise £100,000 to demonstrate local interest in the project.

David Hando, chairman of FONTB, said: “It’s encouraging but there is a long way to go. We have pledged to raise £10,000 initially but we are not going to stop there.”

Fundraising was kick-started with a midsummer event in June, in which regular crossings took place and live music was provided by the City of Newport Male Choir.

Mr Hando said that there are a number of ways to support the council and FONTB’s bid for further funding.

“The more people that visit the bridge and the more people that join the FONTB, the more it shows a local interest,” he said.

“We’ve got a bookstore open now at the visitor centre, and there’s a fun day coming up on the bank holiday.”

In April, Newport City Council received a £1million grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Mr Hando said that it is important that heritage sites like the Bridge continue to be supported.

“It is an engineering wonder,” he said. “People come from all over the world to see it.

“The main reason they need the money is structural repairs. It is got to be constantly maintained. The grant will also be used for improving the surroundings of the bridge, extending the car park and improving the visitor centre."

The Transporter Bridge - which opened in 1906 - is one of just six operational transporter bridges in the world. There is one other in the UK, in Middlesbrough, while there are two in Germany, and one each in France and Spain.

Commenting when the £1million grant was awarded in April, Cllr Debbie Harvey, Newport City Council’s cabinet member for culture and leisure, said: “We are delighted we have received this support which is the first step in helping us to secure the future of our iconic Transporter Bridge.

“We have ambitious plans to make the visitor experience bigger and better. The Bridge has dominated our skyline for more than 100 years and it is great to know we are a step closer to preserving it for another century.”

To donate to the campaign visit justgiving.com/crowdfunding/newporttransporterbridge1