Since the Museum of Lancashire closed to the public in 2016 as part of Lancashire County Council cuts its Friends group has patiently waited for news of its reopening.
But now, following news that the council had no plans to reopen it to the public, they have disbanded and donated their funds to a regional health charity.
Members decided to hand over their remaining £16,500 funds to another worthy local cause – North West Blood Bikes.
The surprise donation means the Blood Bikes charity can purchase three new Honda Crossrunner 800 bikes.
The Friends say this will be a fitting tribute to their founding chairman and major donor the late Stanley Brown, especially as one of the bikes will be named “Stanley”.
The donation was made by Friends chairman Denise Nelson of Longridge at the Blood Bikes HQ at Bamber Bridge. Afterwards Denise, former Premises Officer at the Museum of Lancashire, said: “Stanley lived in Lytham, was an accountant and friend of Lytham Heritage. He was a man of some integrity. He was one of those guys who kept himself busy with good causes and doing nice things for others.”
She said the Friends had considered where best to donate the cash but ruled out museums as they believed the money could be put to better effect at the Blood Bikes charity.
She added that the Friends still hoped the Stanley Street Museum , which is housed in a listed building, will eventually reopen and said: "I just think it's a massive loss to Preston. I know schools can still visit But if they can accommodate schools and the cost of staffing why cannot it just be kept open? "
She continued: "They still have to maintain the building. I do appreciate listed buildings are costly. They are a luxury but the council has owned it for some years. It's an asset for the council."
Simon Hanson, Blood Bikes Fleet Manager, welcopmed the donation and said: “It’s going to make a huge difference - it’s a fantastic donation.”
Ian Watson, Lancashire County Council libraries, museums and registrars manager, said: "In April the consortium keen on taking over the running of the Museum of Lancashire decided to withdraw its interest.
"As we have no plans to reopen the museum to the public, the Friends group, which is made up of volunteers, have now also notified us that they will be disbanding. While the museum is closed to the general public it is still available for pre-booked school visits."