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Little Chapel to be given to the people of Guernsey

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THE Little Chapel will officially belong to the people of Guernsey within the next few weeks.

Pat Johnson , the chairman of the Little Chapel Foundation, is in France today with the conveyancing paperwork that is due to be signed by the original owners, the De La Salle Brothers, members of the order Brothers of the Christian Schools.

Ownership of the chapel and its surrounding land has been gifted to the foundation, which in turn has placed it in trust for the community of Guernsey.

Mr Johnson said that six signatures are required and he is hoping that the documents will be back in the island inside two to three weeks, finalising the gift of the chapel's Les Vauxbelets site.

It has taken some two years to sort out the necessary paperwork, and Mr Johnson said the foundation was grateful to the three firms of advocates who acted for the parties involved – Collas Crill, Babbe and Carey Olsen – who did the work for free.

Mr Johnson and foundation vice-chairman John Silvester were at the chapel on Saturday to receive a cheque for £25,000 from the Dean of Guernsey, the Very Rev. Tim Barker, who presented the money to the foundation on behalf of the Deanery Fund.

The fund uses surplus income from the Ecclesiastical Court to support community and charity projects.

'It seemed absolutely right to offer this grant for a number of reasons,' said Mr Barker. 'It's a fantastic, small, zany part of Guernsey's modern heritage and a major tourist attraction.

'There's an obvious ecclesiastical connection. It's a Catholic foundation, but that is not a problem. It benefits the whole island.'

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The Little Chapel Foundation was established to raise funds to repair the chapel and improve the immediate surrounding area, a project that it estimates will cost some £500,000 to complete.

Scaffolding has shrouded the building since 2015, but the final stage of work on the roof is nearing completion, and as soon as it is done the scaffolding will come down.

'The money spent on the roof required a further £25,000 to complete and we are very very grateful to the Deanery Fund,' said Mr Johnson.

The work to the roof has involved steel mesh, fibre glass and concrete. The final touch will be for the ormer shells to be replaced, and the two crosses placed back on top.

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After the scaffolding goes, attention will focus on ground level with work on the chapel floor as well as outside, renovating a retaining wall which is covered in clinker – a by-product of the steaming process carried out in greenhouses in the past.

Mr Silvester said the foundation is still looking for more clinker, and anyone who could provide some is asked to contact Mr Johnson on pjohnson@thelittlechapel.gg or the project's builders, CA Duquemin, on 726413.

n For more information on The Little Chapel Foundation or to donate to its appeal, visit www.thelittlechapel.gg.

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