£8,000 awarded to St Mary’s

CELEBRATION TIME: Christine Davis, Mary Haresign, Shirley Pugh and Val Day with news of the Heritage Lottery Fund award for their church. SG240215-161TW
CELEBRATION TIME: Christine Davis, Mary Haresign, Shirley Pugh and Val Day with news of the Heritage Lottery Fund award for their church. SG240215-161TW
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Time will no longer stand still in the heart of Cowbit following an £8,000 award from the Heritage Lottery Fund to St Mary’s Church.

The money will allow vital repairs to be carried out to the historic church tower clock, which ground to a halt last March, and to the belfry floor.

Work will start soon and be completed by the end of the year – although it’s hoped the clock could be running again by the summer.

It’s also hoped the project will “re-spark an interest” in the village and its history as well as make the church a centre of activity once more.

Dr Shirley Pugh, who manages the Cowbit Clock Project, said: “We are thrilled to have received the support of the Heritage Lottery Fund and are confident the project will ensure the long-term future of the clock and help attract visitors back to this historic landmark.”

Vanessa Harbar, head of the Heritage Lottery Fund in the East Midlands, said: “The historic St Mary’s Church is the focal point of the Cowbit community and an important local Lincolnshire landmark.

“The Heritage Lottery Fund’s investment to restore its clock and belfry floor is a vital first step in reviving interest in the church and strengthening the sense of community.”

Dr Pugh said people have come to rely on the clock because it’s close to the bus stop and the school – and people going to work use it to check they’re running on time.

First the clock started losing time and then stopped altogether when pins broke off the cogs.

As well as repairing the clock, the project will see an automatic winder added so no one has to make the weekly trek up steep stairs to wind the clock manually.

Cowbit Clock Project has its official launch on April 11 at 2.30pm in Cowbit St Mary.

The event will include a talk on the clock manufacturer, J B Joyce, by experts Steve and Darlah Thomas. It will also be an opportunity for people to meet and share memories of the church and Cowbit.

Cowbit St Mary’s is a grade 1 listed building that was founded by the Prior of Spalding in 1384.

As well as allowing repair work to get underway, the Heritage Lottery Fund money will enable new and existing volunteers to visit relevant projects, exhibitions and institutions and to work with the National Association of Decorative and Fine Arts Societies and local schoolchildren to develop church trails.

This learning will also be shared with a wider audience with a display and a workshop.

Project leaders hope the restoration works – and the work to gather together information on the heritage of the church – will help revive the village, which has become quieter since the opening of the A16 bypass and the loss of its last pub following a fire.

Dr Pugh said: “The Parochial Church Council are responsible for looking after Cowbit St Mary and for organising the various services and events that are held in the building.

“Our village has few amenities and is rapidly losing its village spirit.

“Our project will hopefully re-spark an interest in the village and its history, helping residents rediscover the considerable heritage of our 14th Century building and making it a centre of activity again.”

• The Heritage Lottery Fund has supported almost 35,000 projects with more than £3.5billion across the UK and invests in every part of Britain’s diverse cultural heritage.