AN historic cinema and venue where the Bee Gees made their famous maiden public performance is a step closer to being saved thanks to the generosity of residents and businesses.

The Gaumont Cinema was where the young Gibb brothers made their debut appearance as The Rattlesnakes in 1957.

Now used as a funeral home, the building’s future hangs in the balance, with owners the Co-op putting the site up for sale.

However, music fans and community groups have launched an effort to save the building, raising over £350,000, attracting the support of fans around the world, as well as the Bee Gees cousins, Hazel and Justine Gibb.

This boost has seen the Chorlton Community Land Trust (CCLT), which is leading the “Stayin’ Alive campaign”, granted extra time to finalise its business plan and bid, which it presented to the Co-op on Monday.

The meeting, which has still left things up in the air, will mean a final decision is made in due course.

Hazel Gibb, cousin of Bee Gee members Barry and the late Maurice and Robin, said that a specially formed sub-committee of board members will decide which proposal they will accept.

The timing of the decision is set to be made within the coming days and weeks. She added: “I think it is great that the Co-op is seriously considering our offer and have been impressed by our campaign.

“It will be a great community asset and a way to preserve a piece of musical history that is so important to bee gee fans worldwide.

“Barry is up to date with everything and would not like to see it demolished. He has very happy memories of playing there. Robin’s wife and son feel the same. They said it would be a shame for it to be pulled down in its 99th year.

“I would be sorry to see it go as I have taken many fans to stand outside the building, as Barry said this was where it all started.”

If the CCLT is successful, the group is hoping to convert the building into a market-style food hall and a gym for community use. It says there is also potential to provide a GP practice and affordable housing on the site and the CCLT adds it is keen to create a new public square outside the building.