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World News

Broadcaster Martha Kearney launches appeal to save historic local church

by Donna Birrell

Broadcaster Martha Kearney is launching a nationwide appeal for funds to repair her local church in Suffolk.

St Mary the Virgin in the village of Wortham near Diss is one of 38 existing round-tower churches in Suffolk and the one with the greatest diameter in England.

However the 12th century church now needs extensive repairs to its thatched roof, which dates back to the 15th century.

Around £80,000 has already been raised, but more money is still needed. Martha Kearney is launching the appeal with a  village tea party. She said :

“St Mary’s is a unique church, boasting the largest round tower in the British Isles. The village community needs to raise £200,000 to repair its rotting roof and secure its future with a heritage and conservation plan.”

The church's flint round tower has a diameter of ten metres. Round towers are an East Anglian speciality, with some suggesting they were Saxon fortifications which only had churches added to them when the Normans arrived.

However, almost all East Anglia's round towers post-date the Norman invasion.

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