British author Ken Follett donates €148,000 to restore French cathedral

Ken Follett visiting the cathedral he helped restore
Ken Follett visiting the cathedral he helped restore Copyright AFP
By Euronews
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The Welshman originally wanted to donate the funds to rebuild Notre-Dame in Paris, but was persuaded to help restore the Cathedral of St. Samson in Brittany.


After watching Notre-Dame de Paris burn in 2019, the British author Ken Follett has given €148,000 to another cathedral in France.

Follett donated the copyright to a non-fiction book inspired by Notre-Dame to help renovate the Cathedral of St. Samson at Dol-de-Bretagne in Brittany. 

The writer originally wanted to donate the funds to the cathedral in Paris. But the Fondation du Patrimoine suggested that he give the money to another church because of the influx of donations to rebuild Notre-Dame.

Instead, the money went to the restoration of the Cathedral of St. Samson’s roof, frame and stained-glass windows. 

"I chose the cathedral because it is beautiful, and it needs a lot of money for restoration. And personally, it was founded by a Welshman, and I am Welsh," Follett said.

But despite this initial investment, there is still a long way to go.

In total, the renovations on the cathedral will cost €2.6 million. The municipality will pay €1 million of that bill.

"It's expensive, but it must be done because these buildings contain our history, the history of Europe," Follett said while visiting the church.

Follett is known for writing the novel ‘The Pillars of the Earth’. In the book, artisans labour to create a fictional cathedral in the middle ages, much like the one he worked to save today.

Because of his donation, the writer will have a slate engraved with his name on the cathedral’s roof.

The town of 6,000 residents also made him an honorary citizen for his efforts.

"I am very proud, and very happy to help a little for the repairs of the cathedral of Dol," Follett said.

"We are doing it for us, because it is beautiful and we love this church, but also for our children and their children… We are doing this for the future, and we hope that the cathedral will continue to exist for another 800 years."

The renovation of the cathedral is expected to be completed by 2023.

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