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Bath: mystery donor's £1.5m abbey gift

Bath Abbey has received a donation of £1.5m from an anonymous individual towards its £19.3m Footprint project ...

Bath Abbey has received a donation of £1.5m from an anonymous individual towards its £19.3m Footprint project to carry out essential repairs and install a new eco-friendly heating system.

It's the largest amount ever received by the Abbey, and arrived in an envelope along with a note.

The donor, who wished to remain anonymous, said: "Much impressed by the care and consultation which has been put in by the Abbey, which is such a vital part of Bath's future.

"This generation has a solemn duty to ensure the Abbey is fit and able to carry out its service to the city and the community for the next 100 years."

Footprint appeal director Laura Brown commented: "We are very grateful for this amazingly generous gift from one remarkable individual. It came in an ordinary-looking envelope, without pomp or fanfare, but the contents were just astounding.

"It clearly demonstrates the strength of feeling that the Abbey and its ministry inspires in people."

The project aims to stabilise the Abbey's collapsing floor as well as using the city's famous hot springs as a source of energy to power an innovative underfloor heating system. The work will also create additional space and improved facilities, as well as create new ways of sharing the Abbey's stories.

Earmarked funding for £10m was received from the Heritage Lottery Fund in 2014, dependent on the Abbey having received donations or firm commitments of £7m before the end of 2016. Pledges already received plus the £1.5m donation means the Abbey has less than £4.5m left to raise from grant-making trusts, foundations and individual gifts.

Photos: Russ Bravo

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