St Edmundsbury Cathedral marks the 10th anniversary of the completion of its iconic tower

Cathedral tower project artist Lillias August is pictured in the Transfiguration Chapel of St Edmund

Cathedral tower project artist Lillias August is pictured in the Transfiguration Chapel of St Edmundsbury Cathedral with two of her works: 'Clip Cross' and 'Clip Cross, Transfigured'. - Credit: Mariam Ghaemi

The 10th anniversary of a major project that saw the skyline of Bury St Edmunds change forever is being marked with the launch of a new charity.

Lillias August's watercolour 'Revealed' looking up at the cathedral tower.

Lillias August's watercolour 'Revealed' looking up at the cathedral tower. - Credit: Lillius August

The Millennium Tower on St Edmundsbury Cathedral was finished in July 2005, with a special service that year to mark its completion attended by the Prince of Wales.

The tower - which is now an iconic feature on the town’s skyline - was part of the Millennium Project, which also saw the addition of new cloisters and the Chapel of the Transfiguration.

Ten years on from the completion of the tower, St Edmundsbury Cathedral is marking this anniversary with the launch of a new venture called the Foundation of St Edmund, which will assist it with fundraising for the future life, work and mission of the cathedral.

The foundation will look beyond the county, both nationally and internationally, seeking fresh funds and responding to the Dean and Chapter’s requests for the funding of projects which are over and above the day-to-day, working life of the cathedral.

St Edmundsbury Cathedral without its landmark tower.

St Edmundsbury Cathedral without its landmark tower. - Credit: Archant

Canon Matthew Vernon, Sub Dean of the cathedral and a trustee of the foundation, said: “This is an exciting new stage in the life of the cathedral. Now the building is fit for purpose, we are keen to move forward with new initiatives which will serve the communities with which we work.”

The Millennium Project saw the dream of eastern extension architect Stephen Dykes Bower realised with the building of the final phase, including the striking tower.

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Mr Dykes Bower’s bequest of £2million to complete his vision of the cathedral got the ball rolling for a major fundraising appeal, with the total amount for the project reaching £12million.

It took five years to build the Millennium Tower, made of Barnack limestone and flint by local craftsmen, but the Chapel of the Transfiguration and the Cloisters were not completed until 2008/9. The gilded vault under the tower was unveiled in 2010.

An exhibition by Millennium Project artist-in-residence Lillias August is currently on display at the cathedral.

Ms August, who is a member of the Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours, said: “I was very privileged to actually be there watching these people working and there was a surprisingly small team of them up there doing the work.

“When else would you actually be able to see a cathedral tower being built in the way it would have been built years ago, with traditional craftsmanship?”

Ms August also has an exhibition on at the Edmund Gallery, next to the cathedral, which also features some work from her time as project artist.

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