WHERE a convent of Benedictine nuns once knelt in silent prayer, a small army of painters, decorators, bricklayers, electricians and other tradesmen now climb ladders, spread dustsheets and mix plaster.

Nearly 100 workers have been turning Stanbrook Abbey, formerly the home of the English Congregation nuns, into a luxurious events centre.

The first phase of the project at the site, which is in Callow End, near Malvern, will open this summer.

But by the time the final phase is completed in 2014, upwards of £10 million will have been spent on creating one of the finest facilities of its kind in the Midlands.

The 150-year-old abbey is being refurbished to luxury standards with the centrepiece Callow Great Hall, which was the abbey’s former chapel.

There are several other large function rooms, while the nuns’ cells (bedrooms) are being converted into 50 luxury bedroom suites, plus a bridal suite and four additional bedrooms in an old manor house.

“Stanbrook’s orchards and gardens make this a unique and wonderful property in which to hold weddings and business events,” said general manager Ian Pollock.

When the project is completed it will include a new entrance drive to the abbey off Jennet Tree Lane, which will sweep through the parkland grounds to an impressive glazed reception.

There will also be a health spa, swimming pool and presidential suite.