Roaring with pride, High Wycombe’s iconic Red Lion has been saved after a series of kind donations from people across the county, we can reveal today.

Four weeks to the day after the Bucks Free Press launched a fundraising campaign to save the crumbling landmark, readers and town dignitaries have clubbed together to raise almost £7,500 – enough to fix our limping lion.

Expert woodcarvers have already started work on the restoration, but more still needs to be done to secure the future of the Red Lion for generations to come.

A generous donation from a town businessman has helped push the fundraiser total over £7,000, with campaigners hoping to collect an extra £4,000 for a vital 10-year maintenance project.

Bucks Free Press:

The extent of the damage has now been revealed

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Fears had grown in recent months that the Red Lion could be lost forever if nothing was done, and thanks to all the donations we are now nearing a happy ending for the historic figure.

The news comes sooner than expected after property developer and business owner Nick Sargent handed over £6,000 to go towards the restoration on Tuesday.

He said: “It would be a shame for it to disappear, it’s a part of Wycombe’s history.

“People who go down the High Street almost expect to see it there. It would be a shame if it disappeared forever.

“Like so many other things in Wycombe, the town has changed enormously just in the time that I’ve been here.

“A lot of the older buildings, and old furniture buildings, have disappeared and been redeveloped. The Red Lion needed to be saved.”

Bucks Free Press:

Nick Sargent handing over a cheque to Colin Mantripp at Wycombe Museum.

Mr Sargent brought his company, Skillbond, to the town in the 1980s and put his stamp on the town after buying creating The Valley Centre on old industrial land in Gordon Road.

He added: “I brought my business down to Wycombe because it was a good place to set up a business and has an interesting tradition.

“I’m interested in maintaining Wycombe’s history and of course the lion is an important part of it.”

The Red Lion has watched over the town from the High Street portico for centuries and is known as being the backdrop of Winston Churchill’s rousing post-war speech.

Joining the Free Press campaign last month is the High Wycombe Society, Nostalgia expert Mike Dewey and the Hudson family, including master carver Colin Mantripp who previously repaired the lion and will carry out the work.

This great success is a victory for all those who have supported the campaign so far, but more still needs to be done.

Wycombe MP Steve Baker – one of the first people to publicly back the restoration project with a £100 donation – says he is “thrilled” with the kind donations of the town’s residents.

Bucks Free Press:

He said: “I’m delighted that people are rising to the challenge, saving the Red Lion and giving so generously.

“I’m looking forward to it being part of the reinvigoration of our town centre and it’s crucial we do what we can to maintain the Red Lion for the long run.”

He added: “I would congratulate the Bucks Free Press for the leadership they have shown and also to Mike [Dewey] and the whole team for pulling it together.”

And on the same day, the current mayor of High Wycombe, cllr Zia Ahmed, revealed he would be donating £250 of his council ward budget.

You can donate to the Red Lion fundraiser by visiting

Alternatively, send cash or a cheque made payable to ‘High Wycombe Society – the Red Lion account’ – along with your details – to Bucks Free Press, Station Road, Loudwater, High Wycombe, HP10 9TY.

Call 01494 755089 for further information.