Row erupts over Roald Dahl shed appeal

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The granddaughter of celebrated British children's author Roald Dahl on Tuesday provoked outrage after making a public appeal for £500,000 to save the writer's famous garden shed.

Sophie Dahl -- a successful model, writer and cookery presenter -- used the annual Roald Dahl Day to launch a campaign to move the rotting hut, piece by piece, from the author's garden in Buckinghamshire, south England, to a nearby museum.

"It's in a bit of a state, poor little hut," Dahl told BBC Radio 4's Today programme.

"It needs help. We are trying to raise half a million pounds ($790,000, 575,000 euros), which sounds like a great deal of money to move the interior of a little hut but it's quite a process."

Dahl wrote his much-loved children's stories in the 6 foot (1.5 metre) by 7 foot shed, but listeners immediately balked at the suggestion they meet the bill, flooding the station with emailed complaints.

Others voiced their anger elsewhere.

"I love a bit of Roald Dahl. But being asked by his millionaire granddaughter to stump up for his shed being moved takes the Wonka biscuit," one listener wrote on micro-blogging site Twitter.

Another tweeted: "Roald Dahl Day tainted by Sophie Dahl begging for public money to fix Roald's writing shed whilst his books are still selling worldwide."

Sophie Dahl is married to jazz musician Jamie Cullum, himself believed to be worth an estimated £5 million.

Actor and writer Nicholas Pegg wrote on Twitter: "A preposterously wealthy family pleading for cash for its legacy? It sounds like a lost Dahl story!"

Dahl's estate, which receives millions of pounds each year from book and film royalties, is run by his widow, Liccy.

Chairman of the Roald Dahl Museum, Amanda Conquy, defended the family, saying that the family had been "very generous" in donating 10 per cent of the estate's gross royalties income to charity.

Dahl died in 1990 aged 74 after penning several classic titles including Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Fantastic Mr Fox, Matilda, The Witches and The Big Friendly Giant.

© 2011 AFP

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