PICTURE GALLERY: Historic St Nicholas Chapel in King’s Lynn, which is in line for �1.5m in Heritage Lottery funding

Photographer Ian Burt offers stunning glimpses of St Nick's - the historic church said to have inspired the tale of Robinson Crusoe, which is close to securing �1.5m in Heritage Lottery funding.

Friends of St Nicholas Chapel have been awarded an �82,500 interim payment to secure the future of the 850-year-old church, which towers over St Ann's Street.

The money will be spent on repairs to the building, including work on the roof to prevent water getting in, timber repairs to protect the hammer-beam frame and its carved angels, masonry repairs and conservation of rare furniture.

Interpretation panels will be installed in the chapel to help visitors learn more about the long history of St Nicholas' and the local area.

Friends and the chapel's owner, the Churches Conservation Trust, have been granted a stage one passs by the Heritage Lottery Fund - meaning they will now work with officials to set out how they would spend the rest of the �1.5m if successful.

Rebecca Rees from the conservation trust said: 'We are delighted that the Heritage Lottery Fund has granted the stage one pass - it will help secure the future of this magnificent building for the people of Kings Lynn for many years to come.'

Adrian Parker, from the Friends of St Nicholas, said: 'This medieval church is one of the big landmarks in the town and needs costly repairs, but this grant will also create more comfortable conditions for the audiences and visitors.'

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Robyn Llewellyn, head of Heritage Lottery Fund East of England, said: 'This first-round pass is an important step toward the future conservation of St Nicholas' Chapel.

'By undertaking vital restoration works and ensuring the development of future sustainable use, these proposals will ensure that this beautiful local landmark can be enjoyed for generations to come.

'There is still work for the Churches Conservation Trust to do in developing their plans, but HLF will be offering them full support in taking their application further.'

The conservation trust and the friends also hope to develop the church as a cultural venue, to welcome more people into the building.

St Nick's holds more than 30 concerts and other culturals events each year, including the College of West Anglia's annual graduation ceremony.

Headstones set into its floor include one that marks the grave of one Robinson Cruso - without the 'e' - which is believed to have inspired 18th Century author Daniel Defoe's story of a shipwrecked mariner during a visit to Lynn.