Villagers have raised more than £1m to restore their parish church in Northamptonshire.
The Friends of Fotheringhay Church have announced that enough funding has been successfully achieved to begin urgent repairs to the iconic church of St Mary and All Saints, Fotheringhay.
Well known globally for its family connections with the Royal House of York, the church was identified 18 months ago as having serious fabric problems relating to the ingress of water through the roof and penetrating and rising damp through its walls.
An appeal was launched with the help of HRH The Duke of Gloucester last September.
The Friends, who are a group of villagers and local people, have doggedly pursued charitable trusts, public grant giving bodies, individuals and church funding organisations as well as public companies who have charitable aims and objectives. They have successfully raised £1m to date.
Parish priest, the Rev Anne Hindle, is delighted with progress so far but stresses that the final phase of fundraising is still under way to complete the required total of £1.5 m to fully conserve the ancient building and to remove it from the English Heritage “At Risk Register,” and to install modern amenities within the church.
Lady Victoria Leatham, president of the Friends, said: “With buildings of this age and complexity, timings of work are difficult to estimate successfully, but because we have had such generous support from so many people we have been able to start much sooner than originally planned.
“By breaking up the project into phases we can track the work and manage the budgets more easily, as well as importantly opening the church as usual for services on Sundays.”