Duke of Gloucester unveils plaque to mark end of £6million Manson House revamp

The Duke of Gloucester meets residents at Mason House before unveiling the plaque ANL-150713-163411001
The Duke of Gloucester meets residents at Mason House before unveiling the plaque ANL-150713-163411001
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The Duke of Gloucester has unveiled a plaque to mark the completion of the £6million refurbishment of Manson House in Bury St Edmunds.

The project, which took four years to complete, is the biggest construction project the Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution (RABI) has ever undertaken.

RABI Trustee Malcolm Thomas with Mayor Patrick Chung and his wife Anna ANL-150713-164215001

RABI Trustee Malcolm Thomas with Mayor Patrick Chung and his wife Anna ANL-150713-164215001

Dating back to the 16th century, the site, on Northgate Street, now includes 23 self-contained apartments and 31 en suite residential rooms.

The home, one of two owned and run by RABI, cares for elderly people with a background in farming.

Resident Bill Tickle, 92, said: “I have been here nine years so have seen the whole of the building work.
“We have joked that when the building work is finished we won’t be anything to talk about.”

The majority of the £6million budget came through the biggest legacy donation the charity has received - £3.5million left by Margaret Stearn from Hertfordshire, whose name now graces one of the residential blocks.

Malcolm Thomas, one of the RABI’s Trustees, said: “The project began some four years ago.
“The home was in need of lots of improvements as all old buildings do.
“In part it was paid through our investment but the majority was from a lady called Margaret Stearn who left us almost £4m which meant we could proceed on.

“We had various problems along the way.

“We had to redo the kitchen and had two months put aside for that but it took nine.

“But the residents have been great and have dealt with the upheaval very well.
“We now have a home here that will take us forward into the future.
“Today is a celebration of long journey and one we are very proud of.”