A YEAR-long £3m project to restore and transform the nave at Wakefield Cathedral has been completed after a mammoth fund-raising effort.
The old pews have gone to create a flexible open space for worship, public gatherings, concerts celebrations and other community activities.
The new-look nave – which features improved lighting, flooring, heating and sound systems – will open to the public on Saturday.
The first service will take place at 9.15am the following day, Palm Sunday.
The Very Rev Jonathan Greener, Dean of Wakefield Cathedral, said: “I have been enormously touched by people’s generosity - not just those who have abseiled, thrown themselves out of planes, held supper parties or shaved off their hair.
“In this current financial climate, it is nothing short of a miracle that we have achieved so much and I would like to say thank you to everyone who made this possible.”
He added: “I am thrilled. The finished nave looks more beautiful than I thought possible.”
Mr Greener’s wife Pamela successfully campaigned for the cathedral project to be excluded from Government proposals to impose VAT on projects to restore historic buildings as work was already underway.
Cathedral chiefs say the extra VAT cost would have scuppered the renovation plans as another £200,000 would have been added to the project’s cost.