FOUR West Craven schools have benefited from monies provided by an Earby charity.

The Robert Windle Foundation recently gave Thornton-in-Craven, Earby Springfield, Kelbrook and Salterforth primary schools an early Christmas present of £50 each.

Salterforth will use the money for a concrete base for their new greenhouse, Kelbrook and Thornton schools will buy books and Earby Springfield will buy music CDs for their new sound system.

"Many children will benefit from the donations," said a spokesman for the Robert Windle Foundation. "This is something we hope to be able to continue doing following on from what the trustees have done over the last 400 years."

The foundation owns and runs the Old Grammar School, in School Lane, Earby, and has done so since its first opening in 1599.

Built from a bequest by Robert Windle it ran as a school for over 300 years until it was closed by the education authority in 1911.

The foundation continued to lease the building out and to support local education by giving grants, however by the late 1970s the building was in a parlous state with the roof in danger of collapse.

The Lead Mines trustees, who had taken over the tenancy, managed to get grants to refurbish the building and from the 1970s until July last year the building housed the Lead Mining Museum.

Since its closure the Robert Windle Foundation trustees have taken over the running of the building again.

The spokesman said: "We have had to undertake a lot of renovations to change the building from a museum to a community building.

"This work is still ongoing, but we hope to eventually have a lovely well appointed building for local people to enjoy."

To raise money, the trustees rent out space in the Old Grammar School, hold open days, have the downstairs room/cafe available for bookings and have a Facebook page selling items which raises a small but steady stream of money.

The building already has one tenant but trustees hope another one will join in March 2017.

The spokesman added: "This year we were fortunate to win a lottery grant of £10,000 which is being used to pay for the new downstairs toilet, repairs to the kitchen roof and guttering of the main roof, and next year to have a new floor covering in the main room. This has been an enormous help in maintaining this lovely old building."

The foundation's next fundraising event on Saturday, December 17, is an open day and Christmas event running from 10am to 3pm.

There will be a trash and treasure stall, Christmas decoration making and other stalls including one selling herbal/specialist teas. Refreshments, pie and peas and cakes will also be served.