Holy Island Marygate House retreat in urgent repairs plea

Holy Island Marygate House retreat in urgent repairs plea
Holy Island Marygate House retreat in urgent repairs plea
Image caption, Marygate House opened in 1970 for those seeking peace and rest

2 minutes ago

A trust which runs an island retreat says it “urgently” needs £30,000 to make its building watertight.

Marygate House on Holy Island, famous for its links to early English Christian history, has welcomed thousands of guests since it opened in 1970.

But its exposed position on the North Sea has led to damage to the building’s render, meaning all the bedrooms now have damp.

Warden Frances Wilson says the “structure of the building is suffering”.

Image caption, Warden Frances Wilson wants Marygate House to offer accommodation suitable for disabled people

Marygate House is open to individuals on personal retreats, parish groups and themed excursions such as the “Even Sparrows” retreat for birdwatchers.

If the initial fundraising campaign is successful, the trust has longer-term plans to make the building more environmentally sustainable and, in particular, more accessible for disabled visitors.

Image caption, Fifty years of North Sea storms have damaged the building

“We get a lot of people who call and ask to come immediately, they say they just need to get away, and I want them to be able to come here and go away having been surrounded by love and peace,” Ms Wilson said.

The Rev Canon Dr Sarah Hills, vicar at St Mary the Virgin Church on Holy Island, says Marygate House has a unique place on the island.

“It’s the only specifically Christian place where people can stay,” she said.

“Since Aiden first came in 635AD, this has been a place of pilgrimage and hundreds and hundreds of people come here every year to find God.

“Marygate House is a place where they can find peace and restoration.”

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