Downton Abbey star hosts champagne tea in aid of historic Finchley estate

First published in News Times Series: Photograph of the Author by

Downton Abbey star Jim Carter will host a champagne tea to help bring in cash for a historic Finchley estate.

Mr Carter, who plays the butler Carson in the hit TV show, is encouraging guests to visit Avenue House in East End Road from 3-5.30pm on Sunday, October 14.

The land was bought in 1874 by Henry Charles Stephens, otherwise known as Inky Stephens, son of the inventor of the famous blue-black ink. He died in 1918, bequeathing Avenue House to the people of Finchley.

Speaking to the Times Series about his love of the estate, Mr Carter, said: “I first visited Avenue House last year when they had an Open House. I’d driven by it loads of times without realising what it was.

“I really liked the place, I liked the atmosphere and I loved the little Ink museum and the garden with all the trees and the pond.

“It’s a fabulous place and that’s why I want to help the friends group out with their fundraising. They’re doing a fabulous job trying to open it out as a local amenity.”

The Friends of Avenue House have been working tirelessly to raise cash to keep the grade two listed building open to the public after it fell into financial difficulties in March last year.

Barnet Council withdrew its £35,200 annual funding, meaning the friends had to think quickly about how they could bring in some much needed cash.

The friends group is currently managing to raise approximately £12,000 a year through fundraising - around four times what it was a year ago.

All proceeds from the champagne tea event will go towards the house and grounds.

Mr Carter said: “It will hopefully be a chance for people who don’t know about Avenue House, to find out about it as well as help with the fundraising. I’m also going to be doing a question and answer session on Downton Abbey and anything else people are interesting in – it will be a bit of fun.”

Mr Carter will also auction off a Downton Abbey poster signed by all the cast from series two, and he will sign a t-shirt which is only given to cast and crew.

Tickets for the event cost £30 and can be bought by contacting Avenue House on 020 8346 7812.

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