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A work in progress

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  The scaffolding's off and the Little Chapel appears transformed, thanks in part to some new lighting inside and out. But as Martyn Tolcher discovered, there is much work still to do – and money to be raised – before the project is complete

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HAVING been totally obscured by a cloak of industrial scaffolding for one-and-a-half years, Guernsey's world-famous Little Chapel is looking resplendent at long last.

Following many months of painstaking work and an outlay to date of around £180,000, the main features of the iconic building stand proudly restored and watertight.

Moreover, the Little Chapel's previously unsound foundations have been underpinned and properly secured for the first time since Brother Deodat put them in place 103 years ago.

New lighting has been installed to illuminate the building's wonderful interior, while floodlighting has been set up outside to give the chapel an additional glow during hours of darkness.

From a distance it would seem that it is a case of 'job done'. But initial appearances can be deceptive and although a lot has been achieved over the last 18 months, this is just the beginning.

Get right up close to the tiny church, pop your head inside and you can see straight away that there is still much more that needs to be done.

The 1970s flooring has to be ripped out and replaced in line with the original design of the chapel, while permanent lighting with hidden cables must be fitted to replace the current temporary arrangement.

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Of equal concern is the crumbling state of the nearby grotto, which is said to have been modelled on the one at Lourdes. Meanwhile, the public access pathway behind the chapel remains in a condemned condition and is also seriously in need of attention.

In short, the charitable foundation responsible for the Little Chapel's restoration needs to secure around another £300,000 to get these works going in the autumn and complete phase three of the project.

But its most pressing need is for an income of around £6,000 per month between now and the end of September to enable the remaining detailed, intricate restoration work to be done on the chapel walls.

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

Read the full story with more pictures in today's Guernsey Press

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