A project for vital repairs to the historic Minster in King’s Lynn is set to start next month after grant confirmation.

But the project, which will take more than a year to complete and cost around £855,000, still needs community and business help to meet a shortfall and attract further grant aid.

An estimated £45,000 needs to be raised by July and another £15,000 by the end of the year to help meet a £160,000 shortfall for the building work.

Minster vicar Canon Christopher Ivory has made a plea this week for West Norfolk businesses to dig deep and contribute £30,000.

“We want to appeal, especially to businesses, because supporting the Minster will contribute to a thriving local economy which is of benefit to everyone. We hope that West Norfolk businesses will contribute £30,000 because that would unlock the rest of the money.”

The project will include repairs to damaged stone work, glass renovation,  the installation of educational and community facilities  and improved access.

The go-ahead has followed confirmation this week of a £218,000 Heritage Lottery grant.

The first phase of renovations will take six months to complete and include glass work at high-level windows on the Saturday Market Place side of the building and stone work repairs.

The Minster (pictured), the biggest town visitor attraction, will remain open as normal throughout the work but access to the main door may be limited at times. There may also be scaffolding inside and the organ will be covered in plastic.

Community facilities, a step-free access and the creation of educational resources is planned for September if more funding can be found.

Local efforts have raised £47,000 since a restoration appeal was launched in July with the biggest contribution from the Heritage Lottery.

Canon Ivory said: “I am so grateful for all the support we have received to keep this fantastic church safe and to make it better able to serve the needs of visitors and the local community for many years to come.

“Lynn is an outstanding town with an outstanding heritage, there are very few places to match it in the country, but it has been a secret too well kept. The Minster is at the heart of the history of the town and we want to be at the heart of the town advertising itself to the world.”

The grant approval and start of the work has been welcomed by West Norfolk Mayor Carol Bower who said: “The Minster is a huge part of the heritage of Lynn and it has a special place in my personal experience over the last few months.”

It has also been announced that Lord Townshend has been appointed as the first High Steward of the Minister.

This honorary ambassador role, for an initial 10 years, will see a formal induction in the summer.

Donate to the restoration appeal at: King’s Lynn Minster, St Margaret’s Vicarage, St Margaret’s Place.