Churches receive thousands of pounds in Heritage Lottery funding

Canon Derek Earis pictured with the crumbling tower of St Nicholas Church, North Walsham.PHOTO: ANTO

Canon Derek Earis pictured with the crumbling tower of St Nicholas Church, North Walsham.PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: © ARCHANT NORFOLK PHOTOGRAPHIC

North Norfolk churches have received a financial boost after thousands of pounds worth of grants were announced by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

St Mary the Virgin Church in Burgh, near Aylsham.

St Mary the Virgin Church in Burgh, near Aylsham. - Credit: Archant

Four historic buildings in the district received over £150,000 combined.

St Andrew's Church in Blickling and St Mary the Virgin in Burgh will both receive £62,000, St Nicholas Parish Church in North Walsham will be awarded £22,000 and St Nicholas Church in Swafield will receive £49,000.

A member of the close-knit congregation at Blickling said the community was 'absolutely delighted' about the windfall.

St Andrew's stands close to Blickling Hall and repair work is needed on its roof to make it windproof and watertight.

Henrietta Lindsell, a member of the parochial church council for St Andrew's, said: 'Visually it is very important not to see a crumbling roof next to Blickling Hall. We need to make the roof wind and watertight because at the end of the day the whole building would crumble and collapse.'

She added: 'The grant is very good for morale and it makes us feel the work we do and the time and effort we have put in is worth it. The roof has been a grumbling issue for a while.'

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Mrs Lindsell, whose husband is church warden, said the church held services once or twice a month and was well attended.

The 15th century building is used for a lot of weddings and attracts visitors because of its proximity to the hall.

Work on the roof will only start after all the money is raised and Mrs Lindsell said the shortfall for repairs was about £15,000.

She added more grant applications would be put in for the outstanding amount.

Jeanne Buchanan, church warden of St Mary the Virgin Church, said: 'We feel privileged and lucky because it is a very old church. It has got a very distinguished chancel.'

The Grade I listed building is near the River Bure and has a thatched chancel which needs repairing and the stonework is coming away from the tower.

'Part of the thatch is coming away and encroaching on the stonework. If these things are not kept up to scratch things will deteriorate fast,' Mrs Buchanan added.

She said £40,000 was needed on top of the Heritage Lottery Fund to complete the work on the tower and roof.

Fundraising activities will be put on by the church to help raise the outstanding money and will include a flower festival and village fete.

The church will be hosting a pancake and coffee fundraising morning in the Reading Room of the village hall, next to the church, this Tuesday at 10.30am.

It will cost £3 per person and for more information ring Mrs Buchanan on 01263 733762.