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BBC Wales's Rhodri Lewis
"The monks say they're aware the grant is a little ironic given that they're not allowed to gamble on the Lottery"
 real 28k

BBC Wales's Hugh Turnbull
"The work will include replacing unsightly plastic guttering"
 real 28k

Wednesday, 15 December, 1999, 17:22 GMT
Monks receive Lottery boost for repairs

Caldey monk Caldey Island relies on tourism and the monastery as a source of income


A community of Cistercian monks on a tiny west Wales island have scooped their own Lottery jackpot.

Caldey Island, off the coast of Tenby, has played a key role in monastic activity in Wales since the sixth century.

But in recent years the island monastery and outbuildings, which are visited by some 65,000 tourists every year, have become rundown and leak extensively.

Now, the Heritage Lottery Fund Committee for Wales has announced that the Caldey Island Trust has been awarded a grant of 379,500 so that urgent repair work can be carried out.

Delighted

Caldey Island, which lies within the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park, is widely recognised as one of the most important archaeological sites in Wales.

Monk and trustee Father Stephen said: "We are delighted. It's been something we've hoped for quite some time.


Abbey monks The grant will restore the Grade II listed buildings
"We never had the capital to invest in the maintenance and repair work and the buildings are in such a state now. We hope work can start in the spring."

The island of Caldey is inhabited by just 58 people, of which 18 are monks, who eat sleep and pray within the confines of the monastery.

Because the monastery is populated solely by brothers, only men and boys over the age of 12 were allowed into the main building on tours, which have since stopped.

Preservation

Instead, the site is now serviced by a visitor centre.

Work on the Grade II listed buildings, which date from the turn of the century, will include re-roofing and ensuring sure they are watertight, the replacement on unsightly uPVC guttering with cast iron and the restoration of leaded windows.

Prof Tom Pritchard, chairman of the Heritage Lottery Fund Committee for Wales, said: "Its preservation is the key to the continued survival of the island community, which largely relies on tourism and the monastery as a source of income.

"Not only will it enhance public access and education and preserve a building of significant heritage value, but it plays a key role in preserving and sustaining a community.

"I cannot imagine a more appropriate use for a Heritage Lottery Fund."

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