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Bury St Edmunds: Heritage Lottery Funding of £86,400 will help stage events to mark town’s 800-year-old link with Magna Carta

PUBLISHED: 06:00 08 January 2014

Brandon Lewis MP, Minister for Local Government, visited Bury St Edmunds to hear of preparations for the 800th anniversary of the Magna Carta. Among those in the picture is Margaret Charlesworth, chairman of the local Magna Carta 800 Committee.

Brandon Lewis MP, Minister for Local Government, visited Bury St Edmunds to hear of preparations for the 800th anniversary of the Magna Carta. Among those in the picture is Margaret Charlesworth, chairman of the local Magna Carta 800 Committee.

A major step has been taken to help ensure Magna Carta anniversary events will go ahead in Bury St Edmunds with the awarding of more than £86,000.

Heritage Lottery Fund cash of £86,400 will go towards a light and sound event in October as well as bringing a copy of the famous charter to the town and a range of educational activities.

There will be national 800th anniversary Magna Carta commemorations next year, but Bury is celebrating this year because tradition says it was in 1214 that the Barons of England secretly gathered at the altar in St Edmund’s Abbey.

There they vowed to force their king to sign the charter - which laid the foundations for the legal system in the UK today - which would protect his people’s rights.

The Bury Society, which put in the funding bid, has been working with St Edmundsbury Cathedral and St Edmundsbury Borough Council to stage a number of events this year.

One of the four original copies of the Magna Carta is planned to come from Lincoln to be on display in the cathedral, linked to an education programme encouraging local school children to understand its importance.

Margaret Charlesworth, chairman of the local Magna Carta 800 Committee, which is a sub-committee of the Bury Society, said: “This is simply wonderful news. We have been determined to celebrate the crucial role that Bury St Edmunds played in the Magna Carta story in the year before it was sealed by King John and now we can put our plans into action.”

Robyn Llewellyn, head of Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) East of England, said: “We at HLF are delighted to support this project that will offer residents of Bury St Edmunds the very rare opportunity to view the Magna Carta, whilst also exploring the town’s somewhat unknown connection to this important historical event.”

The Magna Carta 800 Committee is looking for local sponsors to help celebrate the anniversary. Contact Mrs Charlesworth on 01284 763073.

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