WORK is set to begin on a project that will transform a derelict church in the heart of Malmesbury, into a brand new space for the Athelstan Museum.

On Monday, Friends of Athelstan Museum (FOAM) committee members met with contractors from Malmesbury builders Nurden’s, which has been chosen to carry out restoration work on the Moravian Church.

The moment has been months in the making, after Wiltshire Council granted FOAM planning permission in July to renovate the church, which will now become a place for the museum to hold exhibitions and functions.

Sharon Nolan, chairwoman of FOAM, said: “Athelstan Museum has always prided itself on being part of the local community so we are thrilled to be able to give the contract to Andy Nurden.

“There was keen competition for the work and we are confident that they will do a good job.

“Work will begin in January, we’re not sure when it will finish but early summer I hope.

“I’d like to thank the people of Malmesbury for supporting us and I’m really pleased that this is going to be such a wonderful feature and venue.”

Charles Gould, the museum’s project manager said: “Nurden’s have been very helpful and I’m looking forward to the works actually starting.

“Jonathan Rixan, our architect, has produced some wonderful plans with some very original and innovative ideas.

"It will be exciting to see them translated into bricks and mortar.”

FOAM acquired the Moravian Church in 2015 and since then the group has been overwhelmed by the support of local organisations joining in their fundraising campaign.

They have also received a £100,000 grant from the European Union and are keen to continue fundraising efforts to help kit out the building with necessary equipment.

Former chair of FOAM Roger Griffin said: “I’d like to thank all the people who have been involved in fundraising, we’ve had so much help and support from the community, from the Masons, the old corporation, the rotary club and generous amounts of money from various other groups and individuals, it’s been so wonderful.

"Now the real work starts.”