Open meeting on Abbey funding

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WAYS of getting Lottery cash to fund the first steps in a huge plan to repair the crumbling, historic Whalley Abbey and give it added appeal as a tourist attraction will be discussed at an open meeting next week.

Whalley Abbey Fellowship has invited community groups to discuss with Fellowship members an application to the Heritage Lottery Fund for up to £50,000.

Urgent repairs are needed to the Peter of Chester Chapel and other areas of the ruins.

The Peter of Chester Chapel is closed to the public at present because of the danger of falling masonry.

The application for Lottery funding will take time to prepare and a decision has been taken to carry out urgent repairs to the choir pits, which are rapidly deteriorating, before the application.

In a letter to Fellowship members the Bishop of Burnley, the Rt Rev John Goddard, says the application, if successful, would enable links with local and regional public interest and education groups to be formed. Links with historic, archaelogical and civic societies, establishments running conservation and architectural history courses and community organisations would also be sought.

The bishop says the application would be a “primer project” for a larger. site-wide repair, consolidation and development scheme for visitor facilities on the site.

“The project aims to provide better visitor facilities and to extend the use of the grounds for guided tours providing information relating to the ruins, the history of the Abbey and the flora and fauna in the area.”

Among action planned is training volunteers in skills of storytelling, giving tours and talks, writing up aspects of the site for update pamphlets and web-based information.

The open meeting will be at the Abbey next Thursday (May 24th) at 6-30 p.m.