Hollywood legend Tom Hanks makes donation to Rosslyn Chapel restoration

THE 15th-century church helped make him make millions – and now he is repaying the favour.

Hollywood legend Tom Hanks has made a personal cash donation to help the conservation works at Rosslyn Chapel, the building at the heart of his Da Vinci Code blockbuster.

Fundraisers are keeping tightlipped over how much the film star pledged to the cause, but have revealed it was "very generous".

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Colin Glynne-Percy, director for the Rosslyn Chapel Trust, said: "We were thrilled, but I cannot say any more."

Staff at the Midlothian landmark have revealed that Hanks also e-mailed them to explain how much Rosslyn Chapel meant to him, having first visited the attraction for filming five years ago.

The e-mail read: "My fondness for dear Rosslyn Chapel, that dear little piece of history. Few locations in film are so delightful and few destinations live up to their billing, but Rosslyn Chapel was all one could imagine or hope for."

Hanks and his film crew arrived in Midlothian in September 2005 for the filming of the 53 million cinematic version of Dan Brown's best-selling novel.

He played the lead role of Robert Langdon and shot scenes at the chapel for a week, causing visitor numbers to rocket in the aftermath.

But the 1446 building is now in need of major conservation work, with a 13m improvement project under way to restore and enhance the attraction.

The project includes the creation of a 3.7m education centre as well as listening booths for visitors to hear details of the chapel's history.

Mr Glynne-Percy said: "Tom Hanks has given us generous support and also a lovely quote which he said we could use if we liked.

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"We are hugely touched by the level of interest and support we have had. There have been very generous donations from the US. We were thrilled Rosslyn Chapel lived up to its billing."

Fundraisers have worked tirelessly over the past two years to generate funds for improvements at the building.

A 50,000 grant was secured in December from the environmental body Wren to go towards a refurbishment at the chapel's visitor and education centre.

Further millions have come from the Heritage Lottery Fund and Historic Scotland, as well as other support groups and independent donors.

Rosslyn Chapel was built by William St Clair, 3rd Prince of Orkney, for his family, with a staff of a provost, six prebendaries and two choristers. Such chapels were intended to pray for the soul of the founder as well as spreading intellectual and spiritual knowledge.