Major £2.75m project at Wymondham Abbey comes to an end after 18 months of work

A 2.75m project at Wymondham Abbey is coming to a close. The project steering group outside the new

A 2.75m project at Wymondham Abbey is coming to a close. The project steering group outside the new extension - from left to right, Bernard Douglass, Mike Halls, Tom Warren, Barry Johnson, Sybil Martin, Brian Randall, Richard Barton-Wood, Hilary Hunter, Rev Canon Christopher Davies. Picture: Supplied - Credit: Archant

It has taken 17 years of planning, 18 months of building work and a massive £2.75m in funding.

Wymondham Abbey is undergoing extensive improvements including an extension, new vestry, toilets, an

Wymondham Abbey is undergoing extensive improvements including an extension, new vestry, toilets, and other improvements. Church Warden Brian Randall. - Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2015

But a major project at Wymondham Abbey, hoped to strengthen links between the church and the community, is nearing completion - with a launch date set later this month.

The work, called the Abbey Experience, has added new facilities to the 900-year-old parish church, including meeting rooms, education spaces and toilets, while a range of displays detailing the Abbey's connection to the town over the last nine centuries have been created.

The parish archives - some dating back 700 years - have also been made more accessible to the public.

Rev Canon Christopher Davies, vicar, said: 'After many years of planning and fundraising the Abbey now has state-of-the-art facilities that will be a wonderful resource for the whole Wymondham community.

A 2.75m project on Wymondham Abbey is coming to a close. The new south east extension. Picture: Supp

A 2.75m project on Wymondham Abbey is coming to a close. The new south east extension. Picture: Supplied - Credit: Archant

'We look forward to properly welcoming both those who are our neighbours and our many visitors from all over the world.'

The lion's share of the funding, £1.75m, was donated by the Heritage Lottery Fund, while a further £1m was raised by charitable trusts and individuals.

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Over the last year and a half, builders have added on two main extensions and provided layout improvements.

Church-goers and heritage lovers will be able to see the new spaces at a thanksgiving and dedication service on Sunday, November 15, which will be conducted by the Bishop of Thetford, Rt Rev Dr Alan Winton.

Mike Hall, who has led the project, said: 'Without the hard work and dedication of so many people, from the architects right through to the stonemasons and carpenters, we wouldn't have these stunning additions to this glorious building.

'It's fitting that we say thank you in an appropriate manner.'

The new areas will be open to the public from Monday, November 16 from 10am.

What do you think of the Wymondham Abbey work? Email reporter Lauren Cope on lauren.cope@archant.co.uk