A £2M public appeal to turn Richmond's old station building into a community and commercial centre is to be officially launched before the end of the month.

The nineteenth century listed building, which has been empty for nearly three years, will be gutted and returned to its original format within the next two weeks. A series of public events is also planned.

After the launch of the fundraising appeal on October 27, Richmondshire Buildings Preservation Trust will approach potential corporate sponsors with a 15-minute promotional video featuring local dignitaries, including MP William Hague and Baroness Harris of Richmond.

Richmondshire District Council was given a preview on Tuesday, when Jim Jack, of the trust, said the video would be taken to large organisations in London, Birmingham and other UK cities as well as being shown locally.

"The video has already had success in persuading people to make donations," he said. "We have an appointment with one national commercial organisation already and expect another two shortly."

The building will be made available to local groups over the next year and a range of activities and events is planned.

It is hoped a synthetic ice rink can be installed for two days in early January, a family event is planned for February and other possibilities include an art and book sale, a charity auction and a railway-themed event. Summer music concerts and a winter folk programme have also been discussed.

Mr Jack thanked Richmond Pride volunteers for tidying up the site and the district council for its patience and help since the conversion idea was first discussed.

"It has been almost two years in the planning so far," said Mr Jack. "We have still a long way to go but the signs are really encouraging."

The trust has already secured £240,000 from Yorkshire Forward and has submitted a bid for Heritage Lottery money.

Membership of the Friends of Richmond Station, which supports the proposals, has grown to more than 2,000.