Little sympathy as Dahl clan seeks a shedload of cash for author's hut


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The Independent Online

The family of Roald Dahl has been forced to backtrack on a fundraising campaign designed to rescue the hut in which the author wrote his tales.

The late writer's estate wants to move the hut in the garden of his former home in Great Missenden, Buckinghamshire – left untouched since his death in 1990 but now feared close to collapse – piece-by-piece into the Roald Dahl Museum and Story Centre and place it on public display.

Yesterday the author's granddaughter, Sophie Dahl, opened the fundraising campaign by telling Today on Radio 4 that the hut, which retains his folded wing-back chair and wooden writing board, was "a very sacred place".

Ms Dahl said: "We are trying to raise £500,000, which sounds a great deal of money to try and move the interior of the little hut. It has to be done very, very carefully, in an archeological way by archivists."

Today was flooded with angry emails and tweets, with broadcaster Matthew Sweet asking: "Have I got this wrong? The international model and TV star Sophie Dahl is asking us for money to restore a shed?" Another listener suggested Ms Dahl, married to jazz singer Jamie Cullum, who is said to be worth £5m, could earn £250,000 from a single modelling job.

The Roald Dahl Museum alone held £4.63m of funds last year, according to the charity's annual accounts.

Sensing a carefully planned PR campaign turning into a disaster, the head of the museum took to the airwaves to clarify the position.

Amelia Foster said: "The Dahl family have given considerably to this project already and what we are not doing is going to the public and just saying, 'Help us raise this money'. We're actually going to trusts and foundations to support the capital costs for this."