A LEGAL bid launched by environmental campaigners to protect the grave of Lawrence of Arabia has gathered support.

Frome Residents Against Mineral Extraction (FRAME) launched a £1,500 appeal earlier this month to make legal representations against plans to expand Woodsford Quarry in Moreton, as well as create two new sites at Hurst Farm and Lower Dairy Farm near Woodsford.

However, this has since been extended to £5,000 to further develop their case.

FRAME, which has 80 members, claims that the site of writer TE Lawrence’s grave is under threat and needs to be protected.

Alongside this, FRAME claim the quarry plans would bring bring noise, dust, vibration and light pollution to the tranquil area, as well as congestion from lorries causing traffic chaos on the roads.

It would also create a‘1000 acre scar’ through the Frome valley, nicknamed the ‘Vale of the Great Dairies’ by Dorset author Thomas Hardy.

TE Lawrence, known as Lawrence of Arabia, is buried at St Nicholas’ Church, Moreton with his grave attracting tourists to the village every year.

Clarice Wickenden, chairman of FRAME, said the quarries would have a “negative environmental impact on the setting for visitors who come from across the world.”

She added: “Our only chance now is to have expert legal support to present our case at a hearing with an independent planning inspector. Individuals and groups may make representations but we know, from the experience of others, that scant regard is given to their arguments.

“Professionals with expertise in public law are our only hope of getting a considered hearing. Working with public law firm Leigh Day we intend to make representations to the independent inspector. I feel that the proposals would have a negative impact on the local rural economy on the which the community depends.”

It comes after the group responded to a consultation on Dorset County Council’s county-wide minerals plan which saw 1,000 people respond in total.

The minerals plan was then submitted to the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government in March and is expected to be heard by the independent planning inspector in June where FRAME will make their case.

TE Lawrence was an archaeologist before becoming a soldier and extensively toured sites in Arabia, learning Arabic and making contacts across the region.

After his exploits in the war, Lawrence joined the Royal Tank Corps, based at Bovington Camp, under an assumed name while living at Clouds Hill, which is now maintained by the National Trust, and was a frequent visitor to Wareham.

However, he died following a crash on his motorbike near Bovington in May 1935.

A spokesman for Leigh Day Solicitors confirmed they were offering legal advice to FRAME on the matter.