Bath Abbey’s fundraising appeal for its Footprint project has taken another giant step forward thanks to an extraordinary donation of £1.5 million from an anonymous benefactor.
The seven figure pledge is the largest ever received by the Abbey from a private individual.
The donor, who wishes to remain anonymous, explained that the main reason behind the donation was that he was: “much impressed by the care and the consultation which has been put in by the Abbey, which is such a vital part of Bath’s future.”
He continued by saying that: “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 hundred years.”
The £19.3 million Footprint project will carry out essential repairs to stabilise the Abbey’s collapsing floor and introduce an innovative eco-friendly underfloor heating system using Bath’s famous hot springs as a source of energy.
The programme will also create additional space and improved facilities, as well as develop new and exciting ways of sharing the Abbey’s stories, past and present, to ensure Bath Abbey is more hospitable and usable for the half a million people who use it every year.
Laura Brown, Footprint Appeal Director, said: “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.
“Thanks to our generous benefactor and the £1.1 million pledge by the Abbey’s congregation and the Friends of Bath Abbey, we are now a huge step closer towards raising the match funding required to unlock the £10 million from the Heritage Lottery Fund.”
In May last year, the Abbey’s Footprint project received initial support from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF).
In order to unlock the full award of £10 million from HLF, the Abbey will need to raise £7.1 million of match funding.
Combined with other donations and this latest pledge, there is less than £4.5 million to raise from a combination of charitable trusts, foundations, private donors and public fundraising events.