THE first key steps are underway to restore an iconic parish church to its former glory.Vital work has begun on the famous East Window of Saddleworth St Chad at Uppermill, spearheading the ‘Seeing is Believing’ restoration campaign.
Work started in mid-January and church leaders are looking to develop further ideas before submitting their first bid to the National Lottery Heritage Fund later in the year.
Parishioners are being informed of progress and changes by newsletters which will be circulated at regular intervals to the congregation and the wider community.
Rev Canon Sharon Jones, the team rector, said: “I’m delighted to report work to the East Window is now well underway.
“Work on historic buildings is never straightforward, but we hope this element of the works to Save Saddleworth Church will be completed by early May.
“Completion of this element will successfully conclude the Seeing is Believing campaign, launched in 2017.
“But the completion should in no way detract from the level of effort still required to save Saddleworth Church.
“The building still requires somewhere in the region of £1million to save it for future generations. As a custodian of the history of Saddleworth it remains significant to the community.
“Ideas for further community fundraising are in development and we continue to build upon plans to apply for the major funding required, likely to be the Heritage Lottery Fund.
“We hope that successful completion of this 100 per cent community funded project (SIB) will demonstrate to funders going forwards we are well able to deliver capital projects on this iconic building.”
Known as the ‘Parish on the Moor’ the church above Uppermill is registered by Historic England as a Grade II building ‘at risk’ and was rebuilt in 1831-33.
There has been a place of worship dedicated to St Chad on the current site for 800 years.
To help Save Saddleworth Church, you can donate online: cofeinsaddleworth.org.uk