A RELIGIOUS building has received a £700,000 facelift.

A two-year restoration and improvement project has finished at Belmont Abbey Church.

The completion of the Discovering Belmont Abbey project coincides with the building’s 150th year. It was backed by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) and overseen by Hereford architects Hook Mason.

Improvements at the Grade II* listed building include new toilets, lighting, disabled access and essential repairs.

A glass-fronted visitors area was also constructed, to contain interactive displays about the church, abbey and monastic life.

Dozens of monks, parishioners and friends attended the opening ceremony and blessing by Father Paul Stonham, Abbot of Belmont. They included Judith Ord of the HLF, who was treated to tea at Hedley Lodge after being shown the improvements.

Officials have launched a programme of events to encourage visitors, while a website is being developed.