Ex-Sky chief will formally open cinema

Annual Report 2015

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Exclusive by Mark Davey

A former banker who is one of Britain’s top philanthropists will formally open the restored Campbeltown Picture House.

The identity of the person chosen was a closely guarded secret.

Last week a Courier contact let it slip  that Nicholas Ferguson CBE, the chairman of Argyll and Bute Economic Forum and of a London based property firm, Savills Plc had been chosen.

Mr Ferguson was an early supporter of the multi-million pound project led by Campbeltown Community Business Ltd’s Jane Mayo.

In April 2012 Mr Ferguson replaced James Murdoch as the head of BskyB. The Edinburgh university graduate originally made his name in the City of London, when aged 36 in 1984, he set up equity fund Permira.

His best known foray into the arts world was as chairman of London’s Courtauld Institute, from 2001, when it became become an independent, self-governing college of the University of London, responsible for its own long-term sustainability.

Mr Ferguson set up an endowment fund of £32 million to help ensure the Courtauld’s long term future.

With his wife Jane Mr Ferguson set up the Kilfinan Trust in 1997 with one of its main aims to supporting young people and encourage them to live and work in Argyll.

It has become a major sponsor of numerous projects in Campbeltown including the now defunct Kintyre Youth Enquiry Service.

Last week gold leaf invitations were sent to selected guests for next Thursday’s formal CPH opening at 7pm.

It includes an exclusive preview screening of the film EDIE staring Sheila Hancock, Kevin Guthrie and Paul Brannigan.

The synopsis of the movie, to go on national release on May 25 states: ‘To try and overcome a lifetime of bitterness and resentment, an older lady decides to climb a mountain in Scotland.’

Mr Ferguson said: ‘I am delighted to have been asked officially to reopen the cinema after its wonderful restoration.’

‘The restored Picture House will offer a wonderful resource to the people of Campbeltown and the Argyll peninsula, and I hope will attract people from far and wide to come and visit.’

Lucy Casot, head of the heritage lottery fund in Scotland said: ‘To see this much-loved Picture House as magnificent as it was the day it opened more than 100 years ago is a delight.

‘With the help of National Lottery funding, history and 21st century design have come together to create an incredible cultural centre for the local community.

‘Standing proud on the seafront, it will bring joy to those who visit from near and far for many years to come.’