DOWNTON Abbey creator Lord Fellowes of West Stafford has praised the courage of library volunteers in Puddletown ahead of a visit to the village.

The Oscar winning screenwriter will be at Puddletown Middle School on Friday, March 15 to talk about his life at a fundraising event for the Friends of Puddletown Library.

The Friends group took over the running of their village library earlier this year following the withdrawal of core funding from Dorset County Council.

Lord Fellowes is a keen supporter of public libraries and was happy to support the volunteers in their efforts to maintain the village library.

He said: “In the best of all possible worlds Dorset’s network of public libraries would be maintained by the county council.

“But with local government finance under such severe pressure it seems this is no longer possible for the very smallest of libraries.

“Faced with closure, the people of Puddletown have courageously taken on the responsibility of running the library for themselves, as they believe it is better for volunteer librarians to take over than to face the prospect of losing such a precious asset.

“And I couldn’t agree with them more.”

The school doors open at 6.30pm on the night for a 7pm start.

Tickets cost £12 and include a supper prepared by school staff.

They can be bought from the library or school office during opening hours as well as from 3,11 or 21 High Street or Woods Cottage, The Green, Puddletown, or 12 Trent Close, Tolpuddle.