Visitors to a north Norfolk seaside church can settle in comfort to enjoy sermons or concerts in future thanks to hundreds of new, padded chairs.

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Sheringham’s St Peter’s Parish Church has used a legacy from a former parishoner to give the Victorian building an internal makeover.

Nearly 350 rickety wooden chairs, which were about 100 years old and many of which were riddled with woodworm, have been sold in part exchange for the new models.

And church chiefs took advantage of the swap to give the begrimed pine parquet floor a sanding and varnish while the old chairs were gone and before the new ones arrived.

The fabric on the new chairs was in the wine colour associated with St Peter, according to churchwarden David Rivett.

“Before the church looked dark, even in bright sunshine,” he said. “Now if you go in, especially on a sunny day, it’s bright, cheery and welcoming in there.”

The operation had taken a little under a fortnight and the church was closed for one Sunday’s worth of services while the work was carried out.

Mr Rivett declined to name the parishoner, or the amount of the legacy, but said the man, who had once been a verger at the church, had wanted his bequest used to modernise the church.

Some of the legacy was used last year to strip plaster off the church walls as part of a major restoration project aimed at saving the church from the ravages of the salty sea air.

Over time the coastal conditions have eaten away at the building’s fabric, leading to leaky guttering and crumbling plasterwork.

A year ago the plaster was removed and the church was now drying out, said Mr Rivett. Pointing of outside stonework had also been carried out.

The bare walls would stay that way for at least a further year to complete the drying process.

Meanwhile church chiefs would investigate a number of options for the future, including leaving it as it was, painting the walls with lime-based paints, and placing panels over it.

The church dates from 1897 and is brick and flint, with slate roofs.

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