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Page last updated at 14:05 GMT, Tuesday, 19 January 2010
Loyd Grossman backs project to open Norfolk's churches
Loyd Grossman
Loyd Grossman has been involved with church conservation for two years

A campaign urging Norfolk's churches to open to the public is underway.

Hungate Medieval Art hope to raise the profile of art in churches and encourage closed buildings to open, in order to share their wealth of art.

"A lot of people look at our old buildings and don't realise what a great national asset they are," said Loyd Grossman, chairman of the Churches Conservation Trust.

Hungate Medieval Art is based in St Peter Hungate church, Norwich.

Loyd Grossman spoke to BBC Radio Norfolk's Louise Priest about the role he is playing in the project.

When did you get involved with the Churches Conservation Trust?

I got involved in 2007. I was very well aware of the work they were doing because I spent six years as the commissioner of English Heritage, where I really began to get intensely involved with our historical environment.

The Churches Conservation Trust was one of the organisations I really admired. I loved their work and I was very lucky to be asked if I would consider getting involved.

What would you say was the most serious threat facing our churches, lack of funding or public support?

I think the most serious threat facing our churches is that every year there are more and more old and fascinating buildings that need care - that care becomes more and more expensive.

As anyone knows who lives in an old house, the older a building gets, the more care and attention they need.

It's purely a question of making sure we don't let things get out of hand, that we begin looking after our buildings before its too late and that requires money and public support and understanding.

I'm convinced that if people are made aware of just how valuable ad interesting our historic churches are, they will enthusiastically support them.

How well do you know Norfolk's churches?

I know Norfolk's churches quite well. We are fortunate with the Churches Conservation Trust to have a lot of incredibly beautiful, interesting churches throughout East Anglia in our care.

It's one of the places in the world that has an incredible concentration of historic churches.

Many other countries would love to have the historic buildings we have so we have a great obligation to look after them, not just for ourselves but for future generations and for people from all over the world.

Is this the message you want people in Norfolk to follow?

I think the main message is that our historic churches offer a tremendous amount of inspiration to people and also a great deal of pleasure.

There is so much joy to be derived from understanding or visiting our historic parish churches. I would like other people to share that joy with me.

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