£40,000 needed to repair historic dale church
By Nicky Carter - Reporter
AN APPEAL to raise £40,000 to save an historic church that is a hub for village community has been launched.
There has been a church in Hutton Magna for more than 800 years
The current church, St Mary’s, was built in 1878 and features elements of the original one, which date back to the 13th century.
Paid for by public subscription and donations, the small church has stood the test of time, but after 143 years in a semi-exposed location – battered by winter wind and rain – it is in need of repair.
Dave Bottoms, treasurer at St Mary’s Church, said: “Rainwater is starting to leak through in a number of areas and if we don’t do something it will cause the interior walls to deteriorate significantly.”
Water damage to the interior is already evident on the west wall with water stains and peeling paint.
Original cast iron guttering has come to the end of its life and lime pointing has eroded, leaving gaps for water to seep through.
Flashing to the porch roof and around the bell tower may also need relaying.
The building has been assessed professionally, thanks to grant funding from the Sir John Priestman Trust, and a plan for repair work has been put together.
The cost of the work has been estimated at £40,000 and church officers are appealing for help in raising the cash.
Mr Bottoms added: “There are limited reserves in the church coffers so we have no option but to make an appeal to local residents.
“We are applying for grant funding from a number of different bodies including the National Lottery Heritage Fund but to attract additional funds they are unlikely to help unless we can show that the local community is contributing donations to support their church.
“In short as local residents or businesses we badly need help, however big or small, to help us restore our beautiful church.” In addition to the grant funding, the committee set up an Easyfunding account for the church so when people shop on their favourite retailers’ website, a small donation will be given to the church.
He said: “We have got an indication as well from our local county councillors for next year’s budget that they will contribute something.”
For many in the village and wider community, St Mary’s is more than a place of worship. The site acts as a drop-off point for the foodbank and as an outlet for the village to recycle ink cartridges.
One of the most popular events organised each year for the past 40, is the Christmas Concert, scheduled for December 4, where residents and guests are encouraged perform.
Marion Lewis, church warden, said: “It is normally packed out and we get people who were born here and have moved away, coming back to take part, bringing their family.”
Residents in and around the village are being invited to contribute to the fundraising appeal by making a one-off donation or setting up a standing order. Mr Bottoms added: “The church is not just a place to come and pray, it is an important building so that people living in a rural village can get out and socialise as a community.
“If we don’t look after the roof the lovely things inside will start to deteriorate.
“We are the custodians and it is up to us to keep it in good nick.”
For more information on the fundraising appeal or to contribute contact Mr Bottoms on 01833 627446.