Church’s emergency fund for roof repairs

St Mary's Church roof in Banbury is urgent need of repair. NNL-160303-131915001
St Mary's Church roof in Banbury is urgent need of repair. NNL-160303-131915001

Around £60,000 is still needed for vital roof repairs at St Mary’s Church in Banbury.

Damage to the roof of the 18th century church was discovered last year and in 2014 it was added to English Heritage’s ‘at risk’ register.

St Mary's Church roof, in Banbury. NNL-160303-144138001

St Mary's Church roof, in Banbury. NNL-160303-144138001

Although it has received a £100,000 Listed Places of Worship Roof Repair Grant and £23,000 from gifts, grants and fabric funds, the cost of repairing the roof has increased.

Church warden Camilla Finlay, said: “We are concerned the very poor and unstable condition of the fabric will result in extensive additional work and delays to the programme and will significantly increase the cost.”

She added the damage was worse than expected and the church organ had been dismantled for protection.

A temporary roof was erected in December so the repair team could inspect the gutter linings and timberwork. Scaffolding alone costs more than £1,000 a week.

“The PCC is initiating an emergency appeal for an additional £60,000 which is required at this time to ensure we can complete the essential work on site to stabilise the roof structure, recover the roof, repair the rainwater disposal system and associated high-level masonry and protect the organ,” Mrs Finlay said.

Sir Tony Baldry, chair of the National Church Buildings Council, said: “St Mary’s is a building of great significance. It is one of the few significant meeting places in the town.

“It was good news to get the money from the Government but clearly there is more than is needed to be done and I am sure that the community will rally around to enable St Mary’s to continue to serve the people of Banbury.”

The Acting Bishop of Oxford, the Rt Revd Colin Fletcher, said: “St Mary’s lies at the heart of the community in Banbury. I am relieved the damage was discovered before the roof collapsed, and I fully support this appeal.”

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