IN a history that dates back 1,300 years no-one had quite seen Malmesbury Abbey as they did for one night only last week – bathed in a princely purple light.

Friday the 13th proved lucky for anyone who happened to be in Malmesbury when its ancient abbey - one of Wiltshire’s most famous landmarks – was gloriously illuminated.

It was chosen as one of several iconic buildings around the country to take part in Pancreatic Cancer UK’s Purple Lights for Hope campaign.

The aim was to highlight the work carried out by the nation’s only charity that fights the disease with the lowest survival rate of all the 21 common cancers.

Malmesbury photographer Robert Peel has taken countless pictures of the abbey over the years but has never seen it quite like this.

He said: "Malmesbury Abbey looked stunning after additional flood lights had been set up to drape the historic building in purple.

“The lights were portable so we were able to move them around with great effect, adding an extra purple effect to the ancient Norman arch at the entrance.

“People walking and driving past have been in touch over the weekend asking about the Purple Abbey.

“They all said how amazing it looked. It has certainly raised awareness of Pancreatic Cancer".

Corston resident Teresa Coupland, who was among several campaigners at the abbey, said: “Purple Lights for Hope presents an opportunity to celebrate the lives of loved ones dealing with a pancreatic cancer diagnosis and to remember those who have sadly died of the disease, whilst also spreading a message of hope.

“My mother sadly died of pancreatic cancer recently and my family and friends were there raising awareness for Pancreatic Cancer UK outside the abbey.”

She said that by turning the abbey purple on World Pancreatic Cancer Day they hoped to help put a spotlight – quite literally - on the killer disease.

She added: “We wanted highlight a disease that many people still know so very little about but which is predicted to be a bigger killer than breast cancer.

“We would like to thank the abbey for agreeing to light up the building.”

Among the other well-known British buildings which turned purple last Friday were Edinburgh Castle, the Welsh National Assembly, Belfast Castle and London’s South Bank Festival Hall.