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Assurance company provides support for Viking Longhouse project 22 February 2008

A project to build a replica Viking Longhouse at Ard Whallan received a major boost today when Scottish Provident International Life Assurance handed over a cheque for £3,388.

The creation of the longhouse at the West Baldwin site will provide a taste of life in the Island 1,000 years ago.School parties will use the Viking homestead for living history lessons, cooking, tending to livestock and making clothes.

SPILA has been involved in the Department of Education project since the early planning stage three years ago and last year 10 teams of staff spent time clearing the plot, laying the foundations and building the walls by hand, as well as undertaking problem-solving exercises. Staff will be back there this spring constructing willow fencing and working on the roof.

But while tools may have been downed over the winter months, SPILA has continued to fund-raise.

In a ceremony at its Braddan headquarters today, SPILA Managing Director Lillian Boyle presented the cheque to Outdoor Education Officer and project committee member Paul Young.Viking Longhouse project

Staff raised £650 at Christmas and this was matched pound for pound by SPILA's parent company, Resolution plc, Mrs Boyle explained.Resolution also gave SPILA money to be divided between good causes and the Viking Longhouse project benefited to the tune of a further £2,000.

The ladies' team from SPILA won last year's Viking Boat races and donated their £250 prize money.

Mrs Boyle said the longhouse would be a 'unique educational facility for young people and adults'.

She said: 'As part of our involvement in the community, we feel that it is extremely important to support initiatives for young people where possible. We have developed a good working relationship with the Department of Education over the years and we are very much looking forward to supporting the Viking Longhouse project again during 2008.'

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