AN entrepreneurial couple has provided a museum in Malmesbury with a generous donation to help make an upcoming anniversary extra special. 
Whit and Kim Hanks, owners of the iconic Old Bell Hotel in Malmesbury, have donated £5,000 to the Athelstan Museum so that some stunning Anglo Saxon artefacts can be displayed there during the town's Athelstan 1100 celebrations this summer.

Malmesbury has a rich history with Athelstan, who chose to be buried at the town's treasured abbey, so a group of volunteers have decided to organise a programme of events to mark 1,100 years since he became the first King of England.

As part of the jam-packed itinerary of events, the Malmesbury-based museum is holding a one-off exhibition full of unique items which chart this history, 

All the artefacts on display will be on loan from The Ashmolean Museum in Oxford, the British Library and the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.

Among them will be the charter of Athelstan to the burgesses of Malmesbury and a majestic sword from the late Anglo Saxon period.

In addition, the first two pages of an ancient text called Bede the Venerable, Two Lives of St Cuthbert will be on show alongside a famous picture of Athelstan presenting the book to St. Cuthbert.
Sharon Nolan, chairman of the trustees at Athelstan Museum, said: “The items are wonderful and are being loaned to us free of charge – however there are insurance and security implications around hosting them and that is why we needed to raise some funds.

"We’re very grateful to Whit and Kim Hanks for being our main sponsors for the exhibition.”
Mrs Hanks said: “We’re so thrilled to be able to support this exhibition at the museum and also in doing so to support a whole range of activities planned across the summer in the town. 

"We cannot wait to be part of the celebrations."