Truro Cathedral had an operational surplus for 2007 of £12,500. In the past it had been running annual deficits close to £100,000. This amazing transformation has been achieved within the cycle of the first five-year plan begun in 2004, said an official.

The operational surplus is based on the day-to-day running of the Cathedral and includes recurring running costs like heating, lighting, salaries, admin, general repairs upkeep, but none of the one-off project costs.

The Cathedral's income of just over £1m is spent on its mission in Cornwall, which includes worship and music, education and outreach. Also covered by this income are general maintenance and upkeep costs.

The Cathedral employs nearly 40 members of staff (a mix of part and full time), and around 200 volunteers. Each year the Cathedral has nearly 1400 acts of worship, with 10,000 people attending services at Christmas. The Cathedral Choir, consisting of 18 boys and 12 men, is considered to be one of the finest in the country. The cathedral attracts 170,000 visitors a year. Over 1,000 school pupils make educational visits. The Cathedral is also one of Cornwall's major events venues with over 10,000 people attending concerts alone.

Neil Parsons, chief executive, said: "The over-riding priority of Chapter was that the Cathedral put its finances on a sustainable long term footing. The crippling overspend on day-to-day activities was putting us further and further into debt each year. The plan was to control costs and develop income and so reduce our deficit. This we have achieved within the timeframe set and sustained and developed our core activities of worship, mission and education. It is a remarkable transformation. But we cannot be complacent as the Cathedral has inadequate reserves to cover for unseen events. We also need to consider the major restoration of the Victoria Tower which will cost £2m."

Dr Christopher Hardwick, Dean of Truro, added: "This turnaround represents a great deal of hard work from all the Cathedral team. It shows that we are heading in the right direction. What is even more pleasing is that we have been able to achieve this financial breakthrough while still maintaining the quality of the work we do. This is particularly exemplified by the success of the Cathedral Choir, the Chorister Outreach programme, Cornwall Junior Choir, Cornwall Youth Choir, and the green Cathedral' agenda that we have set ourselves."