Fishbourne Roman Palace, Britain’s largest Roman villa, is one of a number of historic properties at risk of permanent closure due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The Sussex Archaeological Society, which has seen its income fall ‘dramatically’ during the coroanvirus pandemic, is appealing for urgent, financial help from the public, to raise £1m worth of lost income, and secure the future of its prised assets. These also include Lewes Castle, an 11th-century Norman fortification, and Michelham Priory, a historic house and garden near Hailsham.
Mr Holland is patron of the Celebrating 175 campaign which aims to help the society reach its 175th anniversary next year.
The historian spent three days in Sussex touring the society’s sites, including the nationally renowned Fishbourne Roman Palace. He first visited the palace as a child and is keen to see it again, describing it as an 'archaeological jewel of international standard'.
Mr Holland said: "Fishbourne Roman Palace is of immense significance, not only in Sussex and in Britain — it is of huge international significance as well.
"It is also one of the many sites administered by the Sussex Archaeological Society, the oldest county archaeological society in the country, which has been looking after the antiquities and treasures of Sussex for 174 years.
"However, like so many institutions, the society has been hit horribly by coronavirus and has suffered a terrible shortfall in its income.
"That is why we are launching this appeal, to try and ensure that it can survive to celebrate its 175th birthday next year."
The Sussex Archaeological Society said the visit and live-tweeting by its 'enthusiastic, high-profile' patron 'has given our fundraising campaign an incredible boost'.
A spokesperson said: "We are immensely grateful to him for giving up his time to come and see our properties and the treasures they hold.
“Times are tough, but so are we, and we are determined to make it through this difficult year and come out stronger than ever for many years to come."
You can follow Tom's tour of all the society's properties on TwitterAs fundraising continues to save the historic museums from closure, Herigeas Hundas, is set to complete a sponsored walk at Old Winchester Hill Iron Age hill fort, on Sunday (August 16).
It comes after the Hampshire-based Anglo Saxon re-enactment group took to the hills of Kingley Vale, near Chichester, on July 12 for another sponsored event.
To donate visit:, www.totalgiving.co.uk/appeal/Celebrating175
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