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Saturday, 26 July 2014

Public donations for Carlisle's Fratry redevelopment hit £100,000

Public donations towards a project to redevelop the Fratry at Carlisle Cathedral and increase its potential as a tourist attraction have reached £100,000.

Carlisle Fratry photo
Dean of Carlisle Cathedral Mark Boyling and John Nixon, chairman of the development trust

Organisers say generous people have handed over various amounts, ranging from smaller notes to larger sums, following the official launch of a fundraising bid in April last year.

They add that plans for a £2m revamp of the building to bring to life stories from its history have caught the imagination of public.

Organisers are aiming to raise about half this amount. The rest would then be matched by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

The current total given or pledged stands at £530,000, with other donations from sources such as grants, the corporate sector and the Chapter and Friends of Carlisle Cathedral making up the amount.

The redevelopment of the building – once a dining hall for monks – aims to increase its appeal to both visitors and Cumbrians.

The Dean of Carlisle Cathedral, the Very Reverend Mark Boyling, said: “People are really excited when I explain to them that this project is all about exploring, finding out and learning.

“The project will create a fabulous teaching and learning resource for use by the local population and our many visitors.”

Organisers want to tell the story of monastic life in the city.

Plans include equipping the main floor of the Fratry, which dates back to the 14th century, with interactive equipment and digitising some of its collection of rare books.

There are ideas to create more space for catering, build a new glass Cloister Room, improve access and provide toilets that are more accessible.

The project is aimed at providing “a unique and inspirational educational hub”.

Carlisle United managing director John Nixon is chairman of the project’s fundraising group. He said: “The response is very encouraging. Both the public and local businesses see the value in improving one of the main visitor attractions that make a vital contribution to the local economy and add to the vibrancy of city life.

“But we still have a lot of money to raise and are working hard to make sure we reach our total.”

For more information call 01228 548107 or email fratry@carlislecathedral. org.uk.

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