A CHURCH IN HEADLEY has announced today that the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) is offering initial support of over Â£12,000 to help cover the cost of essential repairs to their iconic 150-year-old church spire.
St Maryâ€™s Church in Headley, Surrey is set to receive Â£12,400 to help progress their repair plans over the next two years, in order for the full grant of Â£89,800 to be confirmed.
This comes as part of more than Â£12 million of Lottery money set aside by the HLF for use on urgent repairs to 96 of the UKâ€™s most historic listed places of worship, including St Mary Magdalene Church in Hucknall, Nottinghamshire - the final resting place of the romantic poet Lord Byron.
"We are delighted"
The Rector at St Maryâ€™s Church, Revd Linda Harknett, said: â€œWe are delighted that the Heritage Lottery Fund has given this support to our much-loved parish church with its magnificent spire.
â€œIt is visible for miles around and is an important location marker for many travelers.â€
Following a routine inspection of the church by Guildford diocese in June 2011, the church spire was found to have suffered extensive damage from woodpeckers, with a significant number of holes in the cedar shingles.
An appeal was launched to raise funds as part of the churchâ€™s 150th Anniversary celebrations but, despite generous support from the congregation and Headley community, a considerable shortfall remained.
The church plans to replace all the shingles with oak, which is a harder wood and will be treated to resist infestation by the insects sought after by woodpeckers.
Explaining the importance of the HLF support for places of worship, Head of the HLF South East Stuart McLeod said: â€œThere is a place of worship in almost every ward, village and town across the South East of England, providing a very powerful visual connection with our past.
â€œNot only will this money secure the immediate survival of churches like St Maryâ€™s, it will also empower congregations to adapt and evolve these buildings, so they can be enjoyed more widely throughout the community and in turn enable them be more sustainable for the future.â€