Page last updated at 08:24 GMT, Tuesday, 6 January 2009

Church wall paintings to be saved

Wall painting of King Edmund
The paintings depict birds and angels as well as King Edmund

Medieval wall paintings in a Suffolk church are to be preserved thanks to a Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) grant.

The paintings in St Mary's Church, Lakenheath, date from the 13th Century and show local saint King Edmund and scenes from the life of Christ.

They were discovered during church restoration work in 1864 when lime wash was removed from the walls.

The HLF has provided 32,500 of the total 54,000 cost of the project, with local organisations donating the rest.

'Fantastic images'

As well as conserving the paintings, the six-month project will aim to make them accessible to local schools and community groups through a series of free workshops and demonstrations.

A modern wall painting by local people is also to be created as a lasting monument to the project.

The Vicar of St Mary's, Father Robert Leach, said: "We are grateful to the Heritage Lottery Fund for providing the funds to enable this project to succeed.

"Without their help, these unique works of art would have faced an uncertain future."

Matthew Champion, who is leading the project, said: "These fantastic images were originally paid for and created by the local community.

"This project aims to bring local people back to their church to rediscover their own parish heritage."

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