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Hexham Abbey, one of the earliest seats of Christianity in England, is to undergo important maintenance and repair work in the New Year.
It means the Abbey will close to the public from January 7th for up to eight weeks with costs estimated in the region of £80-100k. The works include timber and stone conservation works and enabling works for the forthcoming new boiler.
Rector of Hexham, Canon Dagmar Winter said:
“As a church council and congregation, we take our responsibility to look after Hexham’s most precious and iconic building very seriously. Like every building, Hexham Abbey requires regular maintenance. Given its age, its scale and significance, this presents us with complex challenges. As we face increasing cost pressures, we had no choice but to make this difficult decision to close for a period.
“Hexham Abbey provides a unique setting for the many services, events and activities that take place daily and is a place of welcome and hospitality for the local community as well as over 120,000 visitors every year. By closing the Abbey to the public at our quietest time in January and February, we can carry out this work most quickly, safely and cost effectively, with minimum disruption and no risk to the public, and importantly reopen as soon as possible.”
“The Abbey will be open as normal over Christmas. During the closure in January and February, midweek and weekend services will be held in the adjacent Priory Building, and the exhibition, shop, café and function rooms will all remain open as usual throughout. Please continue to support us during this challenging time!”
A new charity, Hexham Abbey Heritage Development (HAHD), was launched at last month’s royal visit in order to protect the building’s long-term future.
Operations Manager Sally McRobie said: “This programme of works is part of our planned care of the building. Closure will enable these works to be planned and co-ordinated to ensure that known issues do not become emergencies, and even more costly. Clearly, this is a financial strain and the charity aims to create new ways for people to support the heritage, arts and culture at the Abbey in addition to the essential support we receive in the form of donations, legacies and grants. All contributions are vital to the Abbey being able to carry out its ongoing work and we are extremely grateful to everyone who chooses to support this.”
Further information on how individuals and organisations can support the Abbey is shown on the website, hexhamabbey.org.uk, with the inaugural St Andrew’s Ceilidh on the 30th November a notable upcoming event.
To find out more or for a conversation on ways in which you might make a lasting contribution to support the Abbey’s heritage please contact Sally McRobie 01434 611 903, email@example.com