Swedish delegation to visit Norfolk to learn more about preserving historic churches
Swedish delegates will today begin a tour of Norfolk churches to learn more about how best to care for and preserve historic buildings.
Religious sites in the Scandanavian country face similar conservation challenges to those in the United Kingdom (UK), including how to attract new visitors and fundraising for essential improvements.
As a result a team from the Church of Sweden will visit churches across East Anglia starting today (Tuesday, September 12) to see how the Churches Conservation Trust (CCT) - a national charity which works to protect churches at risk - has helped elderly churches survive in this country.
Matthew McKeague, director of regeneration at CCT, said: 'We are delighted to be welcoming our Swedish colleagues to East Anglia in order to see a selection of our historic churches and regeneration projects.
'Sweden has a fascinating array of churches but faces similar challenges to ourselves.
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'We look forward to sharing our knowledge and insight on how to manage, conserve and develop imaginative new uses for historic religious buildings.'
After starting their tour in Cambridge, the 16 delegates will travel to King's Lynn to see the 600-year-old St Nicholas' Chapel in King's Lynn.
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The chapel, in St Ann's Street, was given an extensive 18-month refurbishment following a campaign by the CCT and residents, who won a Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) grant to provide heating and new lighting, toilets, a kitchenette, extensive re-roofing, solar panels, a sound system and interpretation material.
The Friends of St Nicholas Chapel group was also able to raise more money with the help of the HLF to restore and re-fit the Chapel bells.
The following day, they will see three Norfolk churches - All Saints' Church in Little Witchingham, St Michael's Church in Booton and St John's Church in Maddermarket, Norwich.
They will finish with a visit Church of St Mary at the Quay, in Ipswich, on Thursday, September 14.
The tour is part of an ongoing partnership which sees regular information-sharing between the CCT and The Church of Sweden.
The CCT cares for 352 historic churches across England, including more than 50 in East Anglia.