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National Trust to raise membership fees to help pay for major Suffolk heritage projects

PUBLISHED: 10:17 06 February 2019

A computer-generated image of the viewing tower being  built at Sutton Hoo Picture: NISSEN RICHARDS STUDIO

A computer-generated image of the viewing tower being built at Sutton Hoo Picture: NISSEN RICHARDS STUDIO

Archant

Membership fees are to be increased by the National Trust from the beginning of next month to help generate cash to pay for conservation work - and two of its biggest projects are in Suffolk.

A burial mound at Sutton Hoo  Picture: NATIONAL TRUST IMAGES/JUSTIN MINNSA burial mound at Sutton Hoo Picture: NATIONAL TRUST IMAGES/JUSTIN MINNS

The extra revenue will support projects such as the £5million of repairs at Ickworth, near Bury St Edmunds, which got underway last November.

Called Ickworth Uncovered: Raising the Roof, the project will see the roof of the rotunda re-tiled, the fixing of leaks and the addition of lightning protection.

Due to be completed by the summer of 2020, the conservation project will be the biggest ever undertaken at Ickworth and will involve the moving of 2,500 items from storage while work is carried out.

The Rotunda at Ickworth is to be re-tiled as part of a £5million repair project Picture: NATIONAL TRUST/ARNHEL DE SERRAThe Rotunda at Ickworth is to be re-tiled as part of a £5million repair project Picture: NATIONAL TRUST/ARNHEL DE SERRA

Also in Suffolk is the £4million project to transform the visitor experience at Sutton Hoo, near Woodbridge, the site of one of Britain’s best archaelogical finds.

Work on the project, Releasing the Sutton Hoo story, which is backed by a £1.8m Heritage Lottery Fund grant, began last October and its centrepiece will be a 17 metre high observation tower overlooking the final resting place of Anglo Saxon King Raedwald whose body was brought up the River Deben onboard a ship.

The project includes the creation of new walks, tracing part of the route the ship may have taken through the valley before it was formed into his burial chamber. The walks are expected to open to the public on Good Friday this year.

People over 26 will pay £3 a year extra to be members of the organisation which cares for hundreds of historic properties, miles of coastline and tracts of land, while family membership will go up by £6 a year.

A family with two adult members will now pay £126 a year for membership.

Over-60s who have been members for at least five of the past 10 years will see a £2.52 annual rise and a joint loyal senior membership will go up by £4.80, while young people aged 18-25 will pay an extra £1.50 a year.

There is no rise in the £10 membership for junior members aged five to 17 which was introduced last year.

Sharon Pickford, the charity’s director of support and revenue, said: “This small increase in the price of membership will help us to be rightly ambitious for nature and for the state of historic places, at a time when conservation work couldn’t be more needed.”

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