St Helen’s Centre Opens Following Restoration Project

St Helens Centre, Lundy Island

St Helen’s Centre Opens Following Restoration Project

On Saturday 30th June, Lundy celebrated the completion of construction work and installation of the exhibition at St Helens Centre with a service led by the Bishop of Exeter. The restoration of the church has been completed over the last 12 months thanks to a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund and many other donations.

St Helens has stood as a beacon on Lundy since 1896 when it was built by the Rev Hudson Heaven. Restoration works on the historic church building have been ongoing over the last 9 years. In 2017, the Heritage Lottery Fund awarded the scheme a grant, which combined with money raised by the Lundy Parochial Church Council (PCC) has helped the project advance significantly in the last 12 months.

The newly refurbished St Helens Centre provides a place for worship, a base for visiting schools and research students, along with a new exhibition featuring Lundy’s extraordinary history, wildlife and landscape. The vestry has also been refurbished and provides comfortable accommodation for visiting clergy and research students.

With vast experience of complex heritage projects with third-party funding, WWA was appointed to provide Project Management services to lead the project and achieve the aspirations set out for the scheme.

Jeremy Dunn, Associate Partner, said: “The refurbishment of the church has been challenging but very rewarding. A strong roof is now in place and the East window has been restored bringing the top of the windows back to life after they were damaged previously in a gale”.

“The exhibition brings to life the Lundy experience and will be a fantastic addition to educate and inform students and visitors alike. The PCC led by a succession of Rectors, the Rev’s Bill Blakey, Shirley Henderson and Brenda Jacobs are to be congratulated as they have achieved the creation of the new centre, something which has been many years in the making”.

“This project has restored a fantastic historic structure, which is a landmark for the island.”

Lundy General Manager Derek Green said: “The Landmark Trust has refurbished most of the island buildings over the past 50 years and although owned by the church, the restoration of St Helens has been an ambition for the island for some time”.

“The creation of the St Helens centre with its new exhibition and education programme will benefit everyone including the Islanders, visitors and many local schools who visit the island annually. We are extremely grateful to everyone who has contributed to the project”.

Lundy PCC Secretary Michael Williams said: “St Helen’s was a fragile island treasure, and the Revd Hudson Heaven’s ambitious 19th-century vision for Lundy, which was at real risk of being lost forever. Thanks to the Heritage Lottery Fund and all our supporters, we have been able to restore the church to its former glory, maintaining a place for worship, as well as creating a new centre for education, research and study”.

“St Helen’s has always stood as a beacon on the horizon on the approach to Lundy and its future is secured so we can continue to welcome the thousands of visitors who have had the opportunity to visit our extraordinary island”.

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