Page last updated at 08:32 GMT, Monday, 2 February 2009

Restoration work on school begins

Pennoyer's School
The school was unsuccessful in the BBC Restoration series in 2006.

Work to restore an historic school in a Norfolk village is due to begin, thanks to a Heritage Lottery grant of more than £900,000.

Pennoyer's School in Pulham St Mary has been empty for the last 20 years but will now be turned into a village centre.

When building work finishes in January 2010, there will be meeting rooms, an internet cafe, gallery and IT suite.

The school competed unsuccessfully in the BBC Restoration series in 2006.

'Huge effort'

Pennoyer's School, which dates from the 15th Century, has a Victorian frontage, with a medieval Guild Chapel, built in 1401, behind it.

A free school was founded in the chapel in 1670 by William Pennoyer, which was extended in about 1870 but eventually closed in 1988.

As well as turning the building into a centre for the village, the project will see the Guild Chapel fully restored, and visitors will be able to learn more about the heritage of Pennoyer's through an exhibition and memorabilia.

Shelia King, who is chairing the project, said: "The Pennoyer's building is deteriorating daily, so the building work cannot start too soon.

"It has taken a huge effort from a dedicated team of volunteers, backed initially by financial support from the village hall and parish council, to get to this point.

"Sometimes it felt as though the challenges were too great, but it just shows what dogged determination, combined with blind optimism, can achieve."



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