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Saturday, 23 August 2014

Furness Abbey group’s crusade to rally new support

A GROUP which aims to revamp a top tourist attraction is looking for new recruits.

The Furness Abbey Fellowship is looking to promote the culture and heritage of Furness Abbey and the surrounding area.

The fellowship hopes to raise funds to improve facilities and has set an initial target of £6,000 to buy a new display cabinet to house the abbot’s crozier and ring, which were found at the site last April.

New members will receive a discount entry voucher to the abbey, advance notice of events and three newsletters a year. Schools will be able to join the fellowship for free.

Chairwoman of the fellowship, Gill Jepson, says the group is looking to use its status as a charity to help English Heritage with the upkeep of the abbey.

She said: “The fellowship is about trying to raise the abbey’s profile in support of English Heritage.

“We feel that we can help to raise the profile and attract a few more visitors, from both near and far.”

The group, which now has six trustees and 14 committee members, is planning to run a series of fundraising activities at the abbey, including a large event which has been pencilled in for this summer.

Volunteer Stuart Appley said: “I’ve always loved Furness Abbey. I used to go to a youth heritage project down at the abbey.

“I’ve always had an interest in it and at the moment it needs help to get it back to its former greatness.”

Mrs Jepson says the group’s first aim is to raise funds for a new display cabinet for the ring and crozier, and they are hoping to make further improvements in the future.

She said: “We are looking at developing all sorts of things.

“We are going to go for some funding. As a charitable group we can do that to try and do things that English Heritage do not have the money to do.”

l Information leaflets on the fellowship are available from the abbey. For more information or to donate, email furnessabbeyfellowship@gmail.com, visit ‘FurnessAbbeyFellowship’ on Facebook or @FAFellowship on Twitter.

Have your say

The offer of the voucher is for new members of the Fellowship. EH cannot permit free entry as they are a government funded body. Local residents can always apply for their exemption certificate to enter. However, one of the issues surrounding the welfare of the abbey is that revenue and visitor numbers are poor and this impacts on its viability. EH have spent a fortune on the conservation of the abbey recently and should be applauded for this. It could have been mothballed instead. Fellowship volunteers offer their skills freely becuase they want to see a resurgance and rehabilitation of the abbey. So perhaps these two readers might reassess their rahter unhelpful comments and get behind us to help support this amazing piece of local heritage. It belongs to us all

Posted by Gill Jepson on 12 April 2013 at 22:20

New members get a discount voucher to go into the Abbey? Thats good of them! People volunteering to help and give up their time to help the Abbey raise funds and they will still charge them to enter the Abbey.I do not think their will be a big que for this.

Posted by billymac on 8 February 2013 at 13:57

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