Fundraising appeal to be launched soon for grade I-listed church in need of significant restoration and repair
A £300,000 appeal is to be launched soon to save a historic church in Algarkirk from closure.
Work to tackle dry rot, rising damp and the effects of vandalism at St Peter and St Paul’s Church is under way, with the promise of nearly £1.8million worth of lottery funding.
Members of the Algarkirk Major Project Group (AMPG), set up five years ago to raise money for urgent restoration and repair work at the 800-year-old church, found out last year that the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) would be supporting the work with a grant of £1,789,100.
But now the group is faced with the challenge of raising the other third of the total project costs in a village with about 400 residents, according to the 2011 Census.
Di Reid, AMPG chairman, said: “We have a whole list of things to be done at the church, including the stained glass windows and issues with rising damp that has taken away some of the detail from the fine glass work.
“There’s also been some vandalism in the past when lead was stolen from the church roof, one of the main reasons why we got the lottery grant.
“We needed to bring the church into the 21st century but when we started to get the work done, we discovered more things which included dry rot in the ceiling and bells area.
“The building has to be watertight before we can get the other bits done, but the theft of lead over the years has caused most of the problems.”
St Peter and St Paul’s Church, Algarkirk, is a grade I listed building which dates back to the 12th century.
Among the community groups that use the church are a crafty coffee and cake club, Messy Church for children, stained glass, print making and photography groups.
Father Paul Blanch, priest-in-charge of Algarkirk, Fosdyke and Kirton, said: “The HLF, as well as various other groups related to it, have made a massive commitment and we have this £300,000 match-funding challenge.
“Not all of it has to be raised in cash to do the very specific work that is required.
“But the buck has to stop with us and with me having
been parish priest here for 18 months, I try to reach out to what is a very tiny community at weddings and baptisms.
“The church has been kept going by a faithful remnant who are now getting older and people who visit us from all over the country and beyond say: ‘What a fantastic building’”.
Coun Stephen Walker, chairman of Algarkirk Parish Council, said: “St Peter and St Paul’s is, without doubt, a jewel in the crown and, locally, it’s known as the ‘Mini Cathedral of the Fens.’’