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Church's urgent fundraising bid to save 'the heart of Sudbury'

PUBLISHED: 17:43 10 February 2020 | UPDATED: 10:15 13 February 2020

The Church Conservation Trust campaign hopes to

The Church Conservation Trust campaign hopes to "Save the Heart of Sudbury" and secure desperately needed funding for St Peter's church. Picture: GREGG BROWN

A new campaign has been launched to try to save a beloved 14th century church in the heart of Sudbury which needs rescuing after deteoriating rapidly over the years.

Mayor of Sudbury Robert Spivey, right, and his deputy Jack Owen are fully supportive of the Save the Heart of Sudbury campaign. Picture: SUDBURY TOWN COUNCILMayor of Sudbury Robert Spivey, right, and his deputy Jack Owen are fully supportive of the Save the Heart of Sudbury campaign. Picture: SUDBURY TOWN COUNCIL

St Peter's church, which sits on Market Hill, is urgently in need of restoration and fundraising has begun for £20,000 in hopes of securing a further £2.5 million from the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

The Grade 1 listed church has only eight weeks to raise the much needed starter amount and is calling for the people of Sudbury to rally round and secure the funding.

Called "Save the Heart of Sudbury", the campaign formed by the Churches Conservation Trust (CCT)is hoping to turn the church in to a community hub that celebrates the church's and the town's history with a diverse programme of activites for people to enjoy.

But the church needs major refurbishment and restoration, with urgent roof repairs required to ensure the building is watertight as well as new kitchen and toilet facilities.

Alli Burke, previously a volunteer at St Peter's and now development officer for the CTT, is passionate about St Peter's future role in the community: "I love the thrill of the potential for what St Peter's can be to our community.

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"It means different things to different people, but St Peter's should be for everyone. Seeing the way that our audiences are developing, through events designed to appeal to a broader range of people is brilliant."

St Peter's closed in 1972 and was added to a list of saved churches.

Former poet laureate Sir John Betjeman, a renowned lover of churches, said of St Peter's in 1976: "This is very great news that St Peter's is saved.

"You have thereby kept Sudbury as an identity. Without, the town would be half alive because in East Anglia church towers are the hearts of the landscape.

"Silent church towers are hearts which do not beat - St Peter's is now going to beat in full chorus - hurrah!"

Towm Mayor Robert Spivey said: "St Peter's is an important part of Sudbury town's existence. We're very keen to support anything that keeps it that way and we're very happy to back any initiative that is another step on the way."

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