Cash boost for Horncastle’s St Mary’s means they really are raising the roof!

Much loved: St Mary's Church which will benefit from a Government grant to cover the cost of long-term roof repairs
Much loved: St Mary's Church which will benefit from a Government grant to cover the cost of long-term roof repairs

The future of St Mary’s Church in Horncastle has been secured for at least the next 100 years thanks to £83,000 of Government funding.

The News revealed last week that St Mary’s had received £83,600 from the Government’s Listed Places of Worship Roof Repair Fund.

Bob Wain, a spokesman for St Mary’s, said they were delighted to receive the money.

He revealed the cash would enable a 30-year roof rebuilding project - which had cost around half-a-million pounds, to finally be completed.

Mr Wain said: “This is absolutely tremendous news and we were delighted when confirmation came through.

“It has been a very rigorous process and we were by no means certain of getting any money at all.

“To receive £83,000 is just about the best we could have hoped for.

“I would think that over the last 30 years, we have spent something like half a million pounds on the roof at St Mary’s

“This money will allow us to complete the work.

“St Mary’s is the oldest and most loved building in Horncastle.

“Now, it should be around for the next 100 years at least.”

Mr Wain said he felt the award - the second largest amount for churches in the whole of Lincolnshire - was proof of St Mary’s importance.

He added: “It is recognition of how valuable the church is to the community - and the high regard it is held in across the county.”

He went on to reveal the money would be used to strip out copper roofing in the North Aisle.

It will be replaced by a more traditional lead roof.

Mr Wayne added: “The North Aisle roof was clad in copper in the 1950s - instead of lead.

“I don’t think the planners back then were as keen as they are now.

“We want to put a lead roof back in place, as really should have happened in the 50s.”

Mr Wayne paid tribute to the efforts of stalwarts like David Platt and Michael Hieatt who, he said, had been key figures in securing the funding.

He added: “They - and others - really did put in a lot of hard work and it is thanks to them that we have got the funding.”

He also confirmed other fundraising initiatives would continue.

Mr Wayne said: “I don’t think people are aware of how much it costs to keep a place like St Mary’s open.

“There’s always something that needs doing but fortunately we have some wonderful people working behind the scenes.”.

The Government is specific about what the money can be spent on but there is a clause allowing it to be used for a bat survey.

Mr Wayne confirmed there were no plans to carry out such a survey at St Mary’s.

He added; “I’m pleased to say that all we’ve got in our belfry is a bell!”

A spokesman for the Department of Culture, Media and Sport said: “St Mary’s successfully secured a grant of £83,600 to address urgent roof repairs that will ensure it is weather-tight, safe and open to use.”

St Mary’s is one of 502 grants nationally from a total funding package of £30m that was announced by the Chancellor of the Exchequer.”