Restaurant boosts church appeal with tasty treat

South Wales Guardian: APPEAL DONATION: All Saints Trustees Peter Pemberton and Marian Jones with Tac and Christine Lai and staff at Yr Hen Bont. APPEAL DONATION: All Saints Trustees Peter Pemberton and Marian Jones with Tac and Christine Lai and staff at Yr Hen Bont.

The group set up to fund the restoration of Ammanford’s most iconic building have gone prawn crackers after receiving yet another cash boost – courtesy of one of the town’s best-loved eateries.

Yr Hen Bont Chinese restaurant – also known as The Royal Kitchen – in Pontaman Road closed its doors recently after 13 years serving up delicious Cantonese cuisine to the Amman Valley’s food lovers.

But rather than lock away the fixtures and fittings, owners Tac and Christine Lai dreamt up the great idea of auctioning the items off to local businesses and donating all the funds to the All Saints Church Restoration Fund.

The couple, who have lived in the Amman Valley for more than 30 years, expect to raise more than £2,000 from the sale of pint pots, wine glasses, cutlery sets and tablecloths.

“This is a fabulous gesture by Tac and Christine,” said fund trustee Peter Pemberton.

“The money they have donated has proved a massive boost to the fund and we are incredibly grateful for their efforts. We are absolutely delighted.

“Auctioning off their unwanted items was an ingenious way to help with the fund.”

The auction and sale of items was carried out by Marian Jones, a member of the fundraising commmittee for the restoration of All Saints.

The restoration scheme has also been boosted by a £3,000 grant from the Welsh Churches Fund.

The trustees are looking to raise around £500,000 in total to transform the church into a community hub at the heart of town life and have already collected more than £100,000.

In August the trustees were stunned when, thanks to a last-ditch plea in the Guardian, a mystery benefactor stepped forward with an interest-free £10,000 loan, allowing the scheme to draw down £130,000 in grants just days before the application deadline.

“All Saints is part of the very fabric of the town’s history and it was built – in part at least – to honour the brave young men who gave up their lives to keep the nation safe in the First World War,” said Mr Pemberton.

“For that reason alone we must do everything in power to preserve it.

“Tac and Christine’s act of generosity is just the latest in a series of heart-warming donations and loans the people of Ammanford have offered to keep this building at the heart of town life.”

Although Yr Hen Bont has now closed as an eat-in restaurant, Tac and Christine continue to feed the Amman Valley’s hungry from the venue as a takeaway.

To find out more about All Saints Church and the restoration project, visit allsaintsammanford.com.

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