A NEW lottery has been started in Evesham to help the Journal-backed Abbey Bell Tower Appeal reach its fundraising goal.

The lottery has been set up by Evesham Rotary Club as they throw their support behind the appeal to raise £500,000 to repair and conserve the 16th century tower.

Officially titled the Rotary Dinner Lottery, people taking part will be in with the chance of winning a meal for four at a range of 10 restaurants.

Every month the winning groups will dine at either the Wheatsheaf, the Thai Lotus, the Trumpet Inn, the Royal Oak, the Round of Gras, Raphael's Restaurant, Yumi Yumi, the Wood Norton, the Bridge Inn and Ferry or the Orchard Beefeater.

Tickets, which are available at therotaryclubofevesham.org.uk, cost £2 each and the first draw will take place on Tuesday, October 7.

The lottery fundraising scheme came about after appeal treasurer Stan Brotherton gave a presentation to the Rotary club.

Hein van der Steen, vice president of the club, then came up with the suggestion to organise a lottery.

He and other members of the club were keen to do something that would be fun and at the same time effective in raising money.

Mr Van Der Steen said they hoped to raise up to £20,000 for the appeal.

"The Rotary Club of Evesham wants to support the Bell Tower Appeal as the Bell Tower is the link between the past, the small town with the important Abbey, the historic market town and the future of Evesham.

"It is important to preserve this and work on development of Evesham for future generations to enjoy."

The lottery could be the boost the appeal needs as it has received or secured £412,000 of the £500,000 target, meaning there is £88,000 still to go.

Sue Ablett, chairman of the appeal committee, said they were delighted with the support.

"I think it's fantastic to have the Rotary Club on board," said Dr Ablett. "It's another indication of local support for the appeal. It's a really exciting and original idea that Hein has come up with and it's good to see the local restaurants supporting it.

"We hope they will raise a good amount and people will enjoy it."

No more than 1,000 tickets will be sold each month and the Evesham Journal will publish the winners.