Sudbury’s landmark church wins £1.7m jackpot from lottery

St Peter's Church in Sudbury has been given nearly £1.7m by the Heritage Lottery Fund. Picture: PAUL

St Peter's Church in Sudbury has been given nearly £1.7m by the Heritage Lottery Fund. Picture: PAUL GEATER - Credit: Archant

One of Suffolk’s best-known church buildings has received a £1.7million boost from the National Lottery for major repairs to secure its future throughout the 21st century.

St Peter's Church is regularly used for exhibitions. Picture: PHIL MORLEY

St Peter's Church is regularly used for exhibitions. Picture: PHIL MORLEY - Credit: Archant

St Peter’s Church has not been used regularly for worship since it was made redundant in 1972.

However, it has become a community and cultural centre for the town, used for everything from farmers’ markets to concerts.

The 15th Century building is now owned by the Churches’ Conservation Trust and it hopes the project, due to start in October next year, should give it a new lease of life.

It hopes it will enable an expanded programme of cultural events, learning activities for schools and families - and create a range of new employment and volunteering opportunities.

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The restoration will ensure urgent repairs to the roof are undertaken, along with the inclusion of a new fully accessible upper mezzanine floor, installation of toilets and development of a new café and bar area.

Peter Aiers, chief executive of the Churches Conservation Trust, said: “We are delighted to have received support from the National Lottery for this ambitious project to transform St Peter’s into a first-class cultural centre; a project that will revolutionise opportunities for people to take part in and experience heritage and the arts in Sudbury as well as supporting the long-term sustainability of this wonderful historic church.

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“We extend our huge thanks to the National Lottery players and The National Lottery Heritage Fund for this award.”

Hilary Spivey, chairwoman of the Friends of St Peter’s, said the work could lead to the closure of the church for a year – but that the work was vital.

“This is fantastic news,” she said.

“Our visitors might not be aware of it but the church does need quite a lot of repairs. It does leak quite a bit!

“The CCT have been very good with keeping up with running repairs and maintenance, but with a building like this you do need to do a major repair job eventually and this will allow that to be done.”

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It will take several months to get the exact details of the work planned and to appoint contractors. During that time, there should be a full series of events in the church - hopefully concluding with another Sudbury Silk Festival next September.

Anne Jenkins, from The National Lottery Heritage Fund, added: “From our conversations with National Lottery players we know that community heritage is incredibly important to them.

“It is thanks to those players that we are able to support this fantastic project that will provide a multi-purpose space to bring the communities of Sudbury together to explore their heritage and take part in a host of exciting cultural activities.”

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