Auction funding boost for Diss church window

More than �8,000 has been raised by generous Diss residents to help save one of the town's most historic features.

The impressive amount was pledged at an auction of promises event, held at Diss Corn Hall on Friday, in a bid to a boost a campaign to rejuvenate the east window at St Mary's Church.

The money edges the fundraising committee ever closer to raising the �78,000 needed to re-lead the stained glass window which has not been replaced since its construction 150 years ago. Its gradual decay is leaving the magnificent feature in danger of collapse.

The money will also be used to carry out the vital restoration work on three smaller windows.

Since the launch of the appeal in May, about �54,000 has been collected through church funds, private donations and fundraising events, but officials continue to urge people to back the campaign.

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The east window at St Mary's was installed in 1857 in memory of Rev William Manning, who was rector of Diss from 1811 to 1857.

It is hoped the work will be able to begin in spring next year, if the remaining funds can be found.

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Treasurer Graham Elliott said: 'It is an urgent repair. Although I doubt the glass will fall out tomorrow, it does need to be done soon.'

More than 150 people attended last week's auction of promises, which included an eclectic array of about 60 lots donated by local businesses.

Visitors had the chance to bid for flights, hotel stays, Norwich City tickets, hair and beauty treatments, sports and leisure memberships, DIY services, self-catering breaks, a West End theatre trip and a signed Delia Smith cookbook.

Conducting the proceedings was auctioneer Mike Sarson, of T.W. Gaze, while a Tommy Cooper impressionist also provided entertainment.

Alan Crowest, auction organiser, said: 'It was absolutely brilliant. It went beyond our expectations.

'People have been go generous - not just those who contributed lots, but also whose who turned up on the night.'

To help with the fundraising, contact the parish office in Mount Street, Diss, on 01379 643783.

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