Urgent roof repairs can go ahead at Garstang church

Photo: David Hurst'SS Mary and Michael Church, Bonds Lane, Garstang
Photo: David Hurst'SS Mary and Michael Church, Bonds Lane, Garstang

Parishioners and priest at a Garstang church have received the answer to their prayers.

They are celebrating the good news that their church roof can be repaired.

SS Mary and Michael church on Bonds Lane, Garstang is among 29 churches in the northwest to receive funding from the Government’s new Listed Places of Worship:Roof Repair Fund.

In total some £1.9m has been awarded to historic buildings in the region.

SS Mary and Michael is to receive £37,700 and Father David Elder, parish priest, said: “We’re delighted. The roof is nearly 160 years old - it has never been replaced, just been patched up and repaired. It’s a very steep roof. We’ve had buckets all over the place - we’ve patched up from time to time.”

He revealed it now seemed likely that the full roof could be rebuilt - using existing slates where possible and adding insulation.In addition to the grant, the church has raised £50,000 over the past six years for tis roof repair fund and is in the process of selling a barn it owns neighbouring the former Church Inn to fund the remainder of the roof bill.

He added some internal replastering work might be needed and, decribing the grant as “very much” an answer to prayers he said: “Now we have got the grant we might even be able to start (work) this summer. Of course we’ll have to keep church services going at the same time.”

The 29 successful parish churches across the region are from a variety of denominations and the cash will be used to make them “weathertight, safe and open for use.”

Other awards announced include: St Helen’s C. of E. Church, Overton will receive £57,600. The Priory & Parish Church of St Mary Lancaster gets £88,700, St Anne, Westby £100,000, St t Peter’s Church, Belmont, £97,200 and St James, Altham £44,000.

The cash is part of a wider funding package of £30 million awarded to 502 historic places of worship across the UK last week. The Fund was launched in December

It is administered by the National Heritage Memorial Fund (NHMF) on behalf of the Department for Culture Media and Sport and will reopen for new applications later this year.