Visitors flock to see Cathedral tower

A MULTI-million pound project to crown Suffolk's mother church has seen the number of visitors to a historic market town soar in the past two months.People have flocked to Bury St Edmunds from all over the world to visit St Edmundsbury Cathedral's Millennium Tower, described as the "icing on the cake" for the town.

A MULTI-million pound project to crown Suffolk's mother church has seen the number of visitors to a historic market town soar in the past two months.

People have flocked to Bury St Edmunds from all over the world to visit St Edmundsbury Cathedral's Millennium Tower, described as the "icing on the cake" for the town.

In August, more than three times the amount of people visited the magnificent building compared to the same period last year, with numbers rising from around 5,000 to a staggering 16,000.

But although the Cathedral's Millennium Tower was officially completed in July, work on the building, including putting the finishing touches to doors, windows, and flooring, is expected to take another six months.


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Sarah Friswell, visiting officer at the Cathedral, said there has been a huge amount of interest in the tower, which is the result of years of painstaking work.

"We now have around 12 or 15 people taking part in the daily tours, compared to only maybe a couple of people last year," she said.

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"Local people seem to have really embraced the tower, but more and more people also seem to be travelling from other areas of the country, as well as from abroad, to see it.

"Word is now spreading that this unique building is really worth a visit. The town itself has been very busy this summer and I would like to think the tower has had its part to play in that."

Nick Martin, town centre manager, said: "The tower has added huge value to the wonderful fabric of the town that has already been established, and it really is the icing on the cake.

"It is definitely one of the reasons that people come to the town and I defy anyone visiting Bury not to be in awe of the fantastic addition to the town's skyline."

The completion of the Millennium Tower was officially celebrated in July with a weekend of events, including a visit from the Prince of Wales - who is patron of the project - and his wife, HRH the Duchess of Cornwall.

Project co-ordinator, Euan Allen, said that although the main bulk of the work was complete, around 7.5% of the original contract is left to do.

"We felt that time costs money so the main contractor, Bluestone, is now off site, leaving the smaller works to be carried out under the control of another, smaller sub-contractor," he said.

"They are all things that were identified from the beginning, but they just did not get finished in time, although we are hoping that absolutely everything will be finished within the next six months."

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