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Norwich Cathedral needs £100,000 for rewiring

PUBLISHED: 11:00 30 September 2010 | UPDATED: 12:31 30 September 2010

The Dean of Norwich Cathedral, the Very Rev Graham Smith

The Dean of Norwich Cathedral, the Very Rev Graham Smith

Archant © 2010

The Dean of Norwich has made an urgent appeal for cash donations to help fund £110,000 of restoration work on the city’s Norman cathedral.

In its 900-year history the limestone landmark has survived fire, riots and bombs but requires expensive and almost constant conservation work.

The cathedral, built from 1096 to 1145, now needs rewiring to prevent the ageing electric system from causing power cuts and interrupting sermons and services.

Staff estimate that it costs £3,700 each day just to keep the cathedral open, and had anticipated that the building’s 20-year-old wiring would need to be replaced within four years.

But a regular monthly check by an architect revealed the work to be far more urgent and staff were warned that unless carried out soon it could lead to power outages.

The Very Rev Graham Smith, Dean of the city, said: “It’s not so much a health risk, it’s a failure risk and the prospect of the lights going down during a carol service doesn’t bear thinking about.

“It needs to be done straight away.”

He added: “You can imagine a building like this, there’s always things that need to be done.

“We’ve discovered that the first phase of major rewiring needs to be carried out sooner than anticipated and we haven’t got the funds for it. It just so happens that there isn’t anything spare in the cupboard at the moment, that’s why we’re having difficulty.

“It’s getting on a bit. It much be 20 years since the present system was put in.”

The Dean issued an appeal for donations at the Friends of Norwich Cathedral’s 80th birthday celebrations this week.

The group was set up in 1930, partly to raise funds for such work, and it is hoped that it will be able to step in and save the building.

“The Friends will help us, I know they will. As a result of what I said several people have already said they’ll make donations to us,” said the dean.

“Norwich has been in the fantastically fortunate position of having the Friends. They’re generous and loyal, particularly with remembering us in their wills. We’re looked at with very envious eyes by other cathedrals.

“There’s a very definite air of determination that we’ll find the money, it’s not doom and gloom.

“If people would feel able to make a donation to the Friends for this particular piece of work we’d be delighted.”

t For more information on the cathedral or to make a donation visit www.cathedral.org.uk or call 01603 218300

t Do you know of a conservation project in need of funds? Call reporter Matthew Sparkes on 01603 772439 or email matthew.sparkes@archant.co.uk

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