Launde Abbey appeals for a £1m miracle

Launde Abbey, one of the Country’s last remaining Church of England retreat houses, is launching a public appeal in a desperate bid to raise the £1 million it needs for essential renovation work. If the money cannot be raised by the beginning of September 2009 the doors of the Abbey, which welcome in around 20,000 people a year, will be forced to close for good, depriving visitors of the chance to benefit from its much needed sanctuary.

Launde Abbey
The Abbey itself is a beautiful Elizabethan manor house set in the rolling hills of the Leicestershire countryside, and boasts a large Victorian walled garden. It offers anyone and everyone somewhere to come and enjoy one of the rarest of commodities in the modern word - total peace and quiet. It is the ideal place for quiet reflection and soul searching, but its open door policy and residential capabilities mean it must conform to the latest health and safety requirements. Consequently, bare pipes, uneven floors and wheel chair access must all be brought up to standard in order for the Abbey to continue to offer its facilities to the public.

Run by the Launde Abbey Trust and serving in particular the Dioceses of Leicester and Peterborough, Launde Abbey is situated in the glorious English countryside east of Leicester where it has long provided sanctuary for the people from all over the country. The £1m will secure the ongoing future of the Abbey, allowing it to continue as a place for spiritual support, refuge and silent contemplation, and as a meeting place for relevant organisations. The money will also make sure that the beautiful building remains a fine example of English heritage for future generations to enjoy.

To fulfil legal requirements, the Abbey must carry out interior renovation work to its kitchens, dining room, staircase and bedrooms, and is appealing to the people who value its work to help.

Bishop of Leicester Tim Stevens is spearheading the appeal, and comments: “The Abbey has played an important role in the community for many years. We don’t just want to see it shut up because of health and safety reasons, as it’s so much more than just a building. It’s helped thousands of people get away from it all to reassess and take a closer look at their lives, and is one of the rare places where people still have the space, and also the support to think about life’s deep questions and take stock of their own spirituality. It would be a great shame if it had to close.”

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, has joined Bishop Tim in pledging his support to the campaign: Launde Abbey is one of the finest retreat houses we have, set in the glorious countryside of Leicestershire, and must be preserved.

Launde Abbey stands firmly in the Christian tradition but welcomes everyone regardless of faith or religious tradition. It is a place of prayer where countless people - myself included - have benefited from being able to spend time in retreat. Please join me in helping to preserve Launde Abbey for future generations.”

The appeal has a website,, with news about the project, background and history of the Abbey, the work that it does, as well as voices of support – including Sir Cliff Richard and The Bishop of Leicester. Most importantly, the new website allows people to donate and details how the money will help take the Save Launde Abbey campaign forward.