Dame Judi Dench has pledged her support to save the £3.3million Staffordshire Hoard for the West Midlands.
News of Dame Judi’s support comes on the day that The Art Fund launches a new interactive element to its dedicated microsite www.artfund.org/hoard.
‘Buy Your Dig Site’ is a virtual map of the field where the Hoard was discovered.
For a donation of £5 individuals can try their luck by “digging” a square of the field to see if it reveals an item of the Hoard.
Players can buy as many virtual squares as they wish to boost the campaign. Everyone who gives to the fundraising appeal to save the Hoard for the West Midlands by playing the game can elect for their name to appear when a mouse is hovered over the virtual piece of land which they have dug.
Oscar winner Dame Judi said: “It is essential that the Staffordshire Hoard should be kept and displayed in the area in which it was found. It would have so much more meaning to visitors, and it would be a great boost for the area.”
She joins a growing list of stars backing the campaign to save the Hoard.
Other supporters of the campaign include West Bromwich-born comedian Frank Skinner, ex-Rolling Stone and metal detector enthusiast Bill Wyman, and Tony Robinson, presenter of Time Team. The three major political party leaders have also pledged their support.
The Art Fund is spearheading the campaign raise £3.3million to save the Hoard before the deadline of April 17. Comprising over 1,500 pieces of Anglo-Saxon gold and silver, the Hoard is the most valuable Treasure ever found on British soil.
The campaign was launched in Birmingham on January 13 by historian Dr David Starkey. So far more than £550,000 has been raised. If it is successful the Hoard will be jointly acquired by Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery and the Potteries Museum and Art Gallery in Stoke-on-Trent.
More than 80 of the most significant artefacts from the Hoard, including an intricately decorated gold horse’s head that has never been on show before, will be on display at the Potteries Museum and Art Gallery, Stoke-on-Trent between February 13 and March 7.