Cathedral work set for go ahead

THE country's only unfinished cathedral will finally be completed after more than £500,000 in Lottery funding was awarded to build new cloisters – four years after the plans were scrapped due to the cost.

THE country's only unfinished cathedral will finally be completed after more than £500,000 in Lottery funding was awarded to build new cloisters – four years after the plans were scrapped due to the cost.

The news has been welcomed by officials at the building in Bury St Edmunds, who say the cloisters, which will provide a covered route between the main church and cathedral centre, will offer visitors a quiet place to pause for reflection.

The Millennium Commission's announcement to award the scheme and additional £550,000 comes just two weeks after Prince Charles visited St Edmundsbury Cathedral.

The Prince of Wales, who laid the first stone in the building's massive ongoing tower project, came to inspect progress and learn more about the traditional methods being used to create a spire which will eventually loom 150ft above the horizon.


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"The cloisters will be such an appropriate place to stop for a pause," said James Atwell, Cathedral Dean. "Each generation has to do its bit, and it would have been a pity to have almost broken off in mid tune. Now we will really have a final chord.

"Visitors will be thrilled, as this will make their experiences so much better. The whole project will add significantly to the skyline of Bury St Edmunds, and will remind people of the town's history.

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"This is an exciting moment for us, and has come in the last lap of a marathon journey."

It is thought work on the cloisters will coincide with next June's completion of the cathedral tower project – for which £5.5million in Lottery funding has already been secured.

Additional cash for the new build, which will cost a total of £1.1million, will come from a bequest made by architect Stephen Dykes Bower, who worked on the cathedral over a 40-year period.

Andrew Varley, portfolio holder for the arts and culture on St Edmundsbury Borough Council, welcomed the news and the boost it would provide to the historic market town.

"I am absolutely delighted that the cathedral has achieved this extra funding, as this major building is an important part of our architectural heritage," he said.

Tessa Jowell MP, chairman of the Millennium Commission and Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport said: "Our great cathedrals are a treasured part of our national heritage and continue to play and important role in our communities.

"Suffolk Cathedral is the last unfinished Anglican cathedral in the country, where we have been building a wonderful spire using traditional methods and materials."

In addition to the money awarded to St Edmundsbury Cathedral, just over £36,000 was earmarked by the Millennium Commission for work on a new lock at Great Cornard, near Sudbury.

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