Fundraisers and supporters gathered at a Lynn museum yesterday, on St Nicholas Day, for the opening of a new exhibition of St Nicholas’ Chapel.
True’s Yard will host the exhibition, which it is hoped will encourage a final torrent of donations as the deadline for the Calling All Angels appeal approaches, until February.
Dr Paul Richards, from the museum, said: “We are now at a crucial stage in the fundraising appeal and we hope this will encourage a final push to help restore what is arguably Lynn’s greatest building.
“Restoring St Nicholas’ Chapel will give the North End a real cultural centre which I hope will be recognised on a national level.
“We have created a worthy exhibition that will bring great interest in the North End, True’s Yard and St Nicholas’ Chapel.”
West Norfolk mayor Geoffrey Wareham opened the exhibition yesterday afternoon.
He said: “It’s a privilege to be here and the number of people who have given so much of their time to this beautiful building is astounding.
“The generosity of the people of Norfolk is overwhelming.”
The exhibition features a scale model of the chapel which took carpenter Fred Hall 500 hours over five months to build.
He said: “I tend to get a bit carried away once I start making the models, but this is when you get the real pleasure out of it – when you are passing something on to people.”
The project has been funded by the Churches Conservation Trust with support from Lynn business Minuteman Press.
Sir Jeremy Bagge, chairman of the Calling All Angels appeal committee, said: “It would be lovely if this exhibition encouraged those who may not have already donated to give a little something to help save our church.”
For the past year, the Calling All Angels appeal has been battling to raise £210,000 to release a £1.5 million grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund.
After reaching the one-year milestone, the committee was pleased to announce that there is just £26,500 left to raise by the New Year, and with business donations trickling in it is clear that support for the appeal is still strong.
Adrian Parker, from the committee, said: “The money is trickling in but it would be wonderful to get a torrent of donations in these last few weeks.”
Ron Leadley, committee member and managing director of Roomfoss - a switchboard manufacturing company based on the North Lynn Industrial Estate – was among the first to pledge electrical equipment for the planned works.
He added: “We’re looking for skills, labour and equipment - there have been a lot of companies who aren’t in a position to offer these but some have been generous.
“It’s an important monument for the town and we must look after it while we can, because once it’s gone we can’t get it back.”
Speedy Services, an equipment and tool hire company with a depot near the Hardwick Estate, has donated up to £200-worth of tool hire.
Stephen Lee, depot manager, said: “I was approached by Ron Leadley about the project and wanted to do something to help - the chapel is such a landmark for the town.”
Paul Barnett, owner of Kings Oak which is based on the North Lynn Industrial Estate, has pledged to provide kitchen materials for the project.
The exhibition is now open at True’s Yard until February.
The museum is also collecting donations for the appeal.