DAME Judi Dench has thrown her support behind the Gordon Beningfield Dorset Farm Appeal.

Dame Judi Dench has become patron of The Countryside Restoration Trust’s (CRT) Gordon Beningfield Dorset Farm Appeal.

The late Gordon Beningfield, an artist, consevationist and countryman, wanted the CRT to have a wildlife friendly farm in Dorset.

The CRT is a charity that was established in 1993 in response to growing fears about the loss of wildlife caused by intensive and industrialised farming and is now hoping to turn Gordon’s dream into a reality by searching for a farm in Dorset.

The trust have said Dorset’s central location on the south coast and its warm climate, without the exposure to extreme weather found in counties further west, give the area a wide variety and abundance of wildlife.

In order to raise the money to fund the project, the charity is applying for a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund but will need to raise a further one million pounds over the next two years .To achieve a successful conclusion the trust needs to raise at least £1million in 2 years.

Appeal Patron, Dame Judi Dench said “As a lover of water-colour painting and the countryside I was delighted when I discovered the work of Gordon Beningfield.

"I am so pleased that the CRT is honouring his art and his life by wanting to acquire or create a wildlife friendly farm in Dorset. I am privileged to support this exciting appeal.”

Countryside Restoration Trust chairman, Robin Page said “I couldn’t believe it when Dame Judi Dench agreed to be a patron for this appeal.  We are thrilled to have such a talented figure on board and supporting the CRT."

The trust is particularly hoping to acquire a farm in Hardy Country due to Gordon’s love of all things Thomas Hardy.

Robin said: “We’re looking for anything between 200 and 500 acres in Hardy Country – If you can see it from the top of Maiden Castle, we want it.

“The wildlife farm will ensure that a farm that has been intensively farmed, we will make it less intensive and get the wildlife back.

“If it is a wildlife rich farm and we get it, we will ensure that big farming companies don’t move in and trash it.

“We will make sure that it is kept as it should be while producing food and we will want the Dorset people and Dorset schools to come and appreciate it.”

If you would like to make a donation to the appeal, please visit www.CountrysideRestoarationTrust.com or you can contact 01223 262999 or dorset@countrysiderestorationtrust.com.