Page last updated at 15:53 GMT, Thursday, 11 December 2008

Skateboard plan for ancient abbey

An 800-year-old Wiltshire abbey is to be turned into a temporary skate park for three days.

Church of England officials plan to clear the pews from Malmesbury Abbey and replace them with skate ramps next February.

The historic abbey will also feature a cafe and live music stage, as part of the plans.

A spokesman said the initiative with Christian Skaters UK was aimed at attracting teenagers into church.

The abbey's stone floor will be covered with wooden ramps while the huge pillars will be shrouded in padding to protect them.

The abbey was built in 1180 and is the third on the site since the seventh century.

Abbey vicar Reverend Neil Archer said: "Malmesbury Abbey is committed to young people and has employed a full-time youth worker for over six years, so running a youth event for a few days in February is nothing out of the ordinary.

"I think it will be a great experience for the local skating and rollerblading community and parents will probably be pleased that their kids are hanging around in church during half term."

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