SINCE lockdown began, Winchester's most popular music venue has been under threat.

The Railway Inn, which is this year celebrating its 40th anniversary of running live music, has had no choice but to appeal for donations.

So far nearly £20,000 has been raised but, like every other venue in the country, the team are not sure when things will return to normal.

A spokesperson told the Chronicle: "As a music venue we are used to working with thin margins to keep local musicians exploring their craft and moving on to bigger things, with little left to keep the venue running, this situation has changed our fortunes significantly.

"So far our closer community have rallied around us. As of the May 20 we had raised £19,379 through the generosity of those wishing to save the venue and return to see live music, poetry, theatre or arts here, when we are able to re-open.

"It is impossible to adequately express our gratitude to those who have donated, ultimately they will be the saviours of live music in Winchester."

The Railway has been putting on 'First Class From Home' gigs to keep the live music scene going.

These are streamed on Facebook every Wednesday and Saturday at 8.30pm.

So far Chesney Hawkes and Flashfires, Emily Barker and Peter Bruntnell, Ryan O’Reilly and Josh Savage, Nick Harper and Native Harrow, Sam Brookes and Polly Paulusma and This is The Kit and Alex Cornish have performed.

"We have also been supported by the fantastic work of Music Venue Trust, a charitable trust that works tirelessly for it’s member venues, to keep the entire UK small music venue scene thriving," the spokesperson added.

"Our latest crowdfunding initiative is in partnership with them. Any money we do not need to use to reopen, will be diverted from us to other struggling small music venues in the UK through their central fund.

"If you would like to donate to us directly, your donations will be used to continue supporting our staff, first and foremost. Secondly, to help us meet our on-going liabilities, to make sure there is a venue to return to."

To donate, visit: