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Cathedral close to £10m project target

An ambitious campaign to raise £10m to develop Norwich's Anglican cathedral is within a whisker of reaching its magic mark.

Seven years after being launched, just £400,000 needs to be raised to complete the cathedral's Inspiration for the Future campaign. Fundraising bosses have put in a bid for £2.3m of lottery funding which will top up the appeal fund and enable the major refurbishing project to be completed.

The news comes as plans have been submitted to Norwich City Council for a new Hostry building, which will house an education unit, song school, community room and gallery area.

A hostry is an inn or lodging house. During medieval times about 250 monks would live in the cathedral grounds and provide hospitality, medical treatment, and education to visitors. The new building will be on the same site as the original hostry.

CathedralHostryCampaign chairman Henry Cator said: “This project has involved so many people who have given gifts, pledges and also their time in helping to bring in funds.

“We are very grateful to everyone who has supported this work and hope we can count on that support for the final push.”

The Very Rev Graham Smith, Dean of Norwich, said “We are moving closer to our £10m target and there is a great deal of hard work going on.

“The Hostry building, which is the second phase of the development plan, will encourage more people to visit the cathedral. It will also enable us to widen our educational work and develop local links and partnerships in Norfolk and throughout the Diocese.”

The campaign was launched in 1999 with the aim of keeping the cathedral at the heart of Norwich and Norfolk life into the 21st century. It is the biggest building project at the cathedral since mediaeval times and has raised more than any other provincial cathedral appeal in Britain.

The first stage saw a new refectory and library built along the south wall and opened in 2004, which has since become popular among visitors to the cathedral. The latest, and final phase, will be situated along the western wall, with the aim of becoming a centre of excellence for education and learning. Mr Cator added: “The opening of the refectory has given a new dimension to the cathedral for the congregation, visitors and local business people.

“The Hostry development will, in turn, provide the traditional welcome associated with this part of a cathedral and will enable us to increase our work in education and outreach.”

The planning application will be discussed by councillors in December and campaign bosses hope to have all of the funds in place by the end of the year so that building work can start at the beginning of 2007. More than a million people visit the cathedral every year including more than 13,000 schoolchildren.

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