A grade I listed Lancashire church has launched an appeal to restore its iconic 130 ft spire. St Wilfrid's Church in Standish is acclaimed by the authors of the Buildings of England series as being "one of the most interesting churches in Lancashire".
Former chair of the National Trust, Sir Simon Jenkins in his book 'England's Thousand Best Churches' also singles out the building for having "the finest roof in Lancashire". The congregation hope to preserve its village heritage with the support of donations from people and businesses in the community.
The 'Save Standish Spire' campaign seeks to repair the inside and outside of the structure, including fixing the broken church clock, and hopes to raise £400k.
Rev. Andrew Holliday, Rector of St Wilfrid’s CE Church, said: “The spire is an important part of our village heritage and is a landmark for Standish people which can be seen for miles around. It is essential we preserve it and we are launching this appeal so this urgent restoration can be carried out as soon as possible.
“As the spire is dear to everyone in Standish, we hope people and businesses from across the village and beyond will be able to make a donation, no matter how small, so that we can conserve the spire for future generations.
“Our own parish funds built up to maintain the church will contribute to the costs, but the scale of the essential repairs that are needed means we have to reach out across the community for support.”
The 155 year-old spire also houses a peel of eight bells that have been rung to commemorate significant events, including the Jacobite defeat at Preston in 1715 and the passing of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. The spire is topped by a weather vane in the form of the Standish family crest, featuring an owl and a rat.