Appeal to repair crumbling spire at St Mary de Castro Church passes halfway mark
A £500,000 appeal to fix the crumbling spire of an historic church has passed the halfway mark, thanks to funding from the National Lottery.
St Mary de Castro Church, in Leicester, which has massive cracks in its spire, has won a £76,000 grant which took its Save Our Spire (SOS) fund-raising appeal past £300,000.
The grant, which will pay for scaffolding was announced by the Heritage Lottery Fund yesterday.
Appeal co-ordinator Rosemary Mason said: "It's absolutely brilliant. We're over halfway and that's a tremendous amount.
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"We've got money trickling in all the time but this is absolutely fantastic."
The appeal was launched in September. The church received £40,000 from the National Churches Trust in December, and English Heritage has offered to pay £187,000 towards the spire's repair.
The grade I-listed St Mary de Castro is on heritage watchdog English Heritage's at risk register.
King Henry VI was knighted in the church in 1426 and it is also thought medieval writer Geoffrey Chaucer was married there.
The church, in Nicholas Circle, was one of four in the county to receive thousands of pounds through the National Lottery.
St Peter's, in Whetstone, will get £38,000 to fix its leaking roof.
The church is also grade I-listed building, with parts dating from the 13th century.
Vicar Christopher Allen said: "We're very grateful as this means the project can now go ahead.
"The roof of the south aisle has been leaking for years and we have had to take things off the walls to avoid them being damaged.
"We also need to renew the guttering on the north side of the church.
"We will now order a survey to determine how much of the old slate can be used and how much new slate we need.
"I expect we will still have to raise at least £10,000 more to pay for the work."
St Andrew's Church, in Burton Overy, has received £42,000 to re-cover the copper roof and pay for other repairs to wood damaged by beetles.
The 13th century Church of All Saints, in Cadeby, near Market Bosworth, received the biggest grant, of £95,000, to carry out tiling work in the grade II*-listed building.
Cadeby Parish Council chairman Denis Winterbottom said: "I'm very pleased the work can go ahead. The church dates back many centuries."