Church says thanks to town

Members of the Fund-raising commitee at St Mary's Church EMN-160605-103800001

Members of the Fund-raising commitee at St Mary's Church EMN-160605-103800001

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Officials at Horncastle’s St Mary’s Church have said a big thank you to residents and businesses who contributed to a last-minute appeal which enabled vital renovations to be completed.

Worshippers can once again raise the North Aisle roof...but only after that appeal brought in more than £14,000 in just two weeks.

The Rev Charles Patrick, Rector of Horncastle, said the generosity of townspeople and local businesses had been ‘overwhelming.’

Skilled craftsmen have been busy renovating the roof for several months. The project was completed on time and on budget. Scaffolding - which has cloaked the church during the renovation - has finally being removed.

The vast majority of the funding was already in place but there was a short-fall which led to the appeal.

A figure of £14,600 was raised in a fortnight. The money - combined with a contribution from ‘Gift Aid’ - means a final total of around £17,000 which is more than enough to complete the roof renovation - and a few extras while the scaffolding was in place.

Rev Patrick told the News: “It really has been a quite remarkable achievement. The generosity of the townspeople and business’s has been overwhelming”.

The appeal opened with a thousand leaflets and gift envelopes being distributed by Perkins, the Market Place based newsagents.

The launch was followed by direct appeals to businesses and Friends of St Mary’s Church.

That lead to a successful fund-raising reception held in the church on a recent Friday evening and an Open Day/Gift Day on Saturday April 23.

Members of the St Mary’s Appeal Committee say they are indebted to so many people who helped publicise the events, including Sprint Signs and the Horncastle News.

The North Aisle work completes a project started over 30 years ago to essentially repair the entire church roof.

As will all historic buildings, some form of maintenance work will always be needed at St Mary’s.

Michael Hiett, Project Leader of the recent renovations, said: “Thanks to the completion of the work, the roof will at least be secure for the next 100 years”.

Parts of St Mary’s date from the 13th century. Records show building work started in 1250 although it is thought a Roman church once stood on the site.

Meanwhile, May promises to be big month for the church which will host an Art and Music Festival from May 14-21.

The festival includes live music and an attempt to create the largest-ever street map of the town.