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World News

64 Historic churches share funding to help them stay open

by Donna Birrell

More than 60 churches across the UK are sharing £584,000 from the National Churches Trust to help them carry out urgent repairs to help them stay open.

The funding will help some of the buildings such as the Grade I Listed churches of St Walburge, Preston and All Saints Brightlingsea come off Historic England's 'Heritage at Risk' register. All Saints dates from 1250 and its Tudor era tower is nearly 100ft high. It's a prominent local landmark and contains extensive features, including a Tudor font and musket-ball holes attributed to the Civil War. 

Broadcaster Huw Edwards, who is Vice President of the National Churches Trust said:

"The latest funding from the National Churches Trust is a much-needed lifeline for the UK's churches, many of which have found it hard to raise money for building projects during the Covid-19 pandemic.

"The funding will help fund urgent repairs and modern community facilities, safeguarding unique local heritage and keeping churches open and in use for the benefit of local people."

£134,000 of funding is for Wolfson Fabric Repair Grants, part of a partnership with the Wolfson Foundation to support listed churches in the UK.

Paul Ramsbottom, Chief Executive at the Wolfson Foundation, said:

"Churches play a central role in the spiritual life of a community, but they are also an integral, much loved part of our cultural heritage. We are delighted to be working in partnership with the National Churches Trust on this important programme supporting the preservation of these remarkable and wonderful buildings."

Other historic churches to benefit from the funding include Hexham Abbey which is one of the oldest surviving Christian foundations in Britain. It was built in 674 AD as a Benedictine Monastery following a gift of land to St Wilfrid by Queen Etheldreda.

St Mary's in Stoke by Nayland is the second longest church in Suffolk and the subject of several of John Constable's paintings. Funding will help the church carry out urgent roof repairs.

St Elli, Llanelli in Carmathenshire has its origins in a 5th century timber Celtic church on the same site.  In the 1770s, John Wesley, leader of the Methodist movement, regularly preached at the market cross, now situated in the churchyard. Funding will help it pay for urgently needed toilets and a kitchen.

The full list of churches can be found at :  www.nationalchurchestrust.org

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