A MAN spearheading the rescue of defunct Malsis School is galvanising support from the local community.

Adrian Lisle is leading a consortium of business people who have pledged several million pounds to acquire the 32-acre site and listed building in Glusburn.

He is to address members of Glusburn and Cross Hills Parish Council tonight and is urging other people who are interested to come along.

His colleague, Ryan O'Neill, a former Malsis school student, has already been in touch with other ex-pupils urging their support

The two men, who run a London-based fashion business, want to retain the school and open up the grounds for use by the local community. It includes a cricket pitch, tennis courts, and a mountain bike trail.

Mr Lisle said: "The decision day for Malsis School site is coming, and that decision is going to be between, on one hand, a bid that has the historic building at its heart or bids that want to maximise housing and development."

"I have spoken to members of the parish council, and I've been invited to address the Glusburn and Cross Hills Parish Council, which I have accepted. Members of the public can come along and hear me set out our hopes and plans."

Mr O'Neill said many of his contemporaries were perplexed about how the school could have plunged into such a state that it needed to close.

"To a lot of us this closure is like a bereavement. It was an incredible place to be educated and its end is horrendous," he said.

Parents of the 61 pupils were told last November it would close at the end of the autumn term after a bid to merge it with Giggleswick School failed.

The building and site are now being managed by the Leeds-based receiver Ernst & Young.

Councillor Graham Beck (Ind), who is supporting the consortium, said: "It is a crying shame to see the school in such a state. The consortium needs applauding for their efforts to save it and we need a quick decision from the receivers."

Ernst & Young say they are speaking to planning officers about alternative uses of the land and buildings.

They have confirmed that they have received a formal offer to acquire the land and buildings of the Malsis School Trust.