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Tuesday, January 17, 2017
Appeal to save Walsingham retreat centre
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¬†A campaign has been launched to save Martyrs House - an ecumenical retreat centre and pilgrim hostel in Walsingham. Martyrs' House, situated opposite the ruins of the former Abbey, was a place of accommodation for pilgrims during the Middle Ages, and still offers accommodation for up to 52 guests. The house has been run by the charity Sue Ryder Care (and its predecessor the Sue Ryder foundation) for the past 30 years. The charity decided to sell the building as it has been making a financial loss recently. Organisers have until the end of this month to raise £800,000 in order to buy the ancient building, before it goes on the open market. Fr Noel Wynn, Director of the National Catholic Shrine said: "It would be a great loss if this historic building were lost to people coming on pilgrimage to Walsingham. It provides a significant amount of accommodation and is an important centre for pilgrims to the Anglican and Roman Catholic Shrines. The Roman Catholic community would certainly feel the loss if the use of this building were to change. I wish every success to the current efforts to maintain it as retreat centre and place of accommodation. It has much to offer to Catholic life in Walsingham". A group of pilgrims and staff are planning a last minute rescue that will save the building and keep the place open as a living centre of pilgrimage. They are setting up a charitable trust to continue to offer accommodation and support to pilgrims with a shop and restaurant offering organic produce made by a monastic community. Bishop Stephen of the Orthodox Church in Walsingham said: "Noone ever leaves Walsingham as they came to it and the work of Martyrs' House is for so many people a vital part of that spiritual experience. It is essential that such a place continues to welcome those who come searching for the experience in Walsingham of God and His Mother. The Appeal's Director, Dr David Kingsley said: "This is a place of great historical and spiritual importance. To this day, thousands of people visit Walsingham seeking peace and spiritual refreshment. If we lose this house, a piece of England's Christian heritage will be lost for ever, and modern day pilgrims and tourists will be all the poorer. We are appealing to the generosity of the public to help us to save this precious place for future generations." Sue Ryder Care said it was happy to support any organisation that could offer continuity of employment to staff at the centre. For more information about the appeal see:
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