Cornish chapel's emir drop in the ocean for horse-mad sheikh

Updated: 

A Cornish village raising funds to develop a community centre has received help from an unlikely source - after it tapped up the prime minister of the United Arab Emirates for a donation.

Godolphin Cross, a village of around 150 homes, was looking to buy the Methodist Chapel, which closed last April.

Residents approached Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, pointing out the link between their village and the Godolphin stables which are run by the emir.

The horse-racing operation is named after the Godolphin Arabian, first bred in 1724, which takes the name of its best-known owner Francis Godolphin, 2nd Earl of Godolphin.

Godolphin Cross Community Association chairman Richard McKie said Dubai's ruler had made a generous offer towards the fundraising attempt and described the story as a "fairy tale".

He told CornwallLive: "These kinds of things don't normally happen.

"It's a fairy tale really. It's not often a sheikh steps in to help a Cornish village."

An offer on the chapel in the village, 12 miles west of Falmouth, had been verbally accepted, Mr McKie said.

He said: "We can't thank Sheikh Mohammed enough and we'd love to see him in this neck of the woods any time.

"He would be assured of a very warm welcome."