TV presenter Loyd Grossman launches fundraising appeal to renovate St Nicholas’ Chapel in King’s Lynn
He is best known for asking 'who lives in a house like this?' after giving a tour of a celebrity's home for TV show Through the Keyhole.
But on Friday evening Loyd Grossman visited King's Lynn to launch a major fundraising appeal to renovate St Nicholas' Chapel and asked: 'Who can help restore a chapel like this?'
The American-British TV presenter described the chapel in the heart of Lynn as an internationally important jewel in the crown of the Churches Conservation Trust, an organisation he is chairman of.
Visiting the chapel for the first time, Mr Grossman said the sheer scale of the medieval building had overwhelmed him as he arrived from King's Lynn railway station.
'It is thrilling, and when you get over the size and scale of it, you can also be overwhelmed by the quality of the amazing craftsmanship of the building,' he said in his mid-Atlantic accent, which reflects his Boston origins and time spent in the UK.
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'You can touch a living part of the Middle Ages and it is very evocative. It really brings home that in the 1400s King's Lynn was a very important part of the international map and we want to give people a tremendous sense of local pride in that.'
Mr Grossman, whose name is used for a range of pasta and curry sauces, added it was a remarkable building which the trust wanted to preserve for future generations as a well-used and loved building.
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The trust and the Friends of St Nicholas' Chapel are working together to raise �210,000 in order to secure a �1.5m Lottery grant to renovate the chapel, which is more than 600 years old.
The �1.5m project will include �800,000 to re-roof the nave and south aisle while adding insulation.
A further �130,000 is needed to provide toilets and a kitchenette area, while �120,000 will provide a heating system and �30,000 will light the beautiful carved angels in the ceiling.
It is also hoped to develop a new way of interpreting information to tell stories and attract visitors.
Architect Malcolm Fryer said the chapel roof was currently in a 'dire' condition and in urgent need of repairs.
'It is an extraordinary gem and one of the more important ecclesiastical buildings in the country – it really is unique,' he said.
Mr Fryer said the proposed work would see a flexible use of the space within the building, with the rear pews able to be moved so an open area could be utilised by community groups for indoor markets or craft fairs.
'I know the people of King's Lynn and west Norfolk will give what they can to this most precious community asset,' added West Norfolk Mayor Colin Sampson.
The Churches Conservation Trust has 341 buildings. St Nicholas' Chapel is the biggest and it has managed the building, which is still consecrated, for more than 20 years.
The trust, whose president is the Prince of Wales, has previously said it was 'calling all angels' to help achieve the fundraising target.
For more information about the Churches Conservation Trust see www.visitchurches.org.uk