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Vandals target windows at former Norwich church

PUBLISHED: 10:01 22 November 2010

Smashed: Windows at the Hungate centre

Smashed: Windows at the Hungate centre

A former church which is now home to a medieval art centre in the city has been targeted by vandals who have smashed windows at the venue.

It is believed a traffic cone and beer bottles were pelted at three of the windows at Hungate Medieval Art based at the former St Peter Hungate Church.

Bosses at the Princes Street venue, which is currently home to rare medieval stained glass taken out of St Stephen’s Church in Norwich so structural repairs can be carried out, fear the damage could cost thousands of pounds to repair.

Alice Free, centre manager, said the damaged windows contain some original medieval glass which will require the attention of specialised craftsmen to repair.

She said: “This type of mindless vandalism has a massive negative effect on small charities such as ours–being a not-for-profit organisation our resources are minimal and everyone involved in St Peter Hungate Church and Hungate Medieval Art including the volunteers and the Norfolk Historic Churches Trust have to shoulder the consequences in some way.”

The attack, which is believed to have happened overnight on Thursday, November 18, has been reported to police who are now investigating the crime.

Following the attack members of the public helped staff at the centre as part of the clean-up operation which took place on Friday morning.

Mrs Free said it could not have come at a worse time for the centre which was looking to increase public accessibility to the centre by cutting the entry charge and opening the venue for free from December 2.

She said: “We also have a couple of fundraising events lined up before Christmas closing such as The Minstrels gallery concert on December 17 and a Christmas lecture on December 11 with Richard Halsey MBE and chairman of Cambridgeshire Historic Churches Trust and so unforeseen and wanton incidents such as this really are a struggle to recover from.”

St Peter Hungate, at the top of Elm Hill, was the first church in the country to be converted into a museum but council budget cuts forced the closure of the showcase for ecclesiastical art in 2001.

But in 2009, following a campaign to raise £120,000 Hungate Medieval Art was launched as an interpretation centre for Norfolk’s medieval heritage.

For more information please go to www.hungate.org.uk

Are you part of a community group which has been targeted by vandals? Call reporter Peter Walsh on 01603 772436 or email peter.walsh@archant.co.uk

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