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Published: 06 Jan 2021

Ely Cathedral has received a financial boost from the government's £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund to help fund repairs during the coronavirus pandemic.

The Cathedral has been awarded the maximum amount of £25,000 for urgent restoration work to the west gable wall of Ely's much celebrated Lady Chapel. This part of building dates back to 1321, and has a large stone cross on the exterior wall, which over time, and has become unstable particularly in high winds. On further inspection, other defects of this medieval gable wall were identified, resulting in an urgent request for funding for crucial restoration works to stabilise the large cross and prevent the loss of significant fabric to the building.

Lifeline grants from the Culture Recovery Fund are designed to protect heritage sites and ensure that jobs and access to culture and heritage in local communities are protected during the months ahead.

Grants of up to £25,000 are being allocated to cherished heritage sites, like Ely's iconic Cathedral, across the country to cover urgently needed maintenance and repairs. This vital funding comes from a part of the Culture Recovery Fund called the Heritage Stimulus Fund and is administered on behalf of the government by Historic England.

As well as rescuing precious heritage buildings in need, the injection of cash will protect livelihoods for some of the most vulnerable heritage specialists and contractors working in the sector.

Culture Secretary, Oliver Dowden, said: "These grants will help the places that have shaped our skylines for hundreds of years and that continue to define culture in our towns and cities. We're protecting heritage and culture in every corner of the country to save jobs and ensure it's there for future generations to enjoy."

Ely Cathedral's Lady Chapel is not only the largest of any UK Cathedral but acknowledge as one of the most splendid artistic and architectural achievements of medieval England and has played a significant role in the Cathedral's history. These days it is a key attraction to visitors as well as being a venue for concerts and recitals, charity dinners, exhibitions, conferences, film sets and much more.

Clive England - Surveyor to the Fabric at Ely said: "We are hugely grateful for this recent financial support. The grant Ely Cathedral has received from the Culture Recovery Fund and Historic England will enable us to urgently carry out this crucial work to restore the integrity of the fabric, and ensure it is safe for everyone who comes to experience one of the most significant examples of medieval architecture."

Duncan Wilson, Historic England Chief Executive said: "Historic places across the country are being supported by the Government's grants awarded under the Culture Recovery Fund. This funding is a lifeline which is kick-starting essential repairs and maintenance at many of our most precious historic sites, so they can begin to recover from the damaging effects of COVID-19.

"It is also providing employment for skilled craft workers who help keep historic places alive and the wheels of the heritage sector turning. Our shared heritage is an anchor for us all in these challenging times and this funding will help to ensure it remains part of our collective future."