The remainder of the work to overhaul Keswick’s former pencil factory is set to start soon.

Members of the town’s liaison forum have been given a tour of the factory, including town councillors and representatives from Crosthwaite Church and Keswick Tourism Association, by building owners Keswick Ministries.

Work on the ground floor of the building was completed in time for the annual Keswick Convention to be held this summer but the first and second floors are still to be completed.

The next stage includes re-rendering and replacing the windows at the rear of the building, adding staircases, and installing a lift.

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David Sawday, chief operating officer at Keswick Ministries, hailed the ‘fantastically restored front fascia’ at the building, which has also seen the installation of new windows at the front of the building, the ground floor level raised, new rooms built and toilets installed.

Councillor Paul Titley, of Keswick Town Council, said: “What you have done is phenomenal.

“It looks lovely now.

“The opportunity is out there for this facility to compete in the business of hosting trade shows given the hotel offer in Keswick is unique and the scenery is fantastic.”

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He said there was “enormous opportunity” for adventure activities with a dry base in Keswick in the winter months.

Events already planned for the venue include a climate meeting organised by Sustainable Keswick and the launch of Joss Naylor’s new book, organised through Bookends.

Simon Overend, head of operations at Keswick Ministries, said holding the convention had been ‘quite an achievement’ given the unknowns as a result of Covid-19 ‘in a very challenging year’.

“Strict Covid precautions meant there were no outbreaks and just one known case which led to a small number of people self-isolating,” Simon said.

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The three-week convention saw an attendance of about 6,000, compared to 12,000 to 15,000 in a typical year.

Councillor Duncan Miller, of Keswick Town Council, said: “You have handled it very well. Well done!”

There are also plans for the pedestrian crossing used during this year’s event to be installed again next year, when the event will take place between July 16 and August 5, unless a permanent solution is found before then.