CHRIST Church Friezland is delighted to announce that funding of up to £130,500 has been granted by the Heritage Lottery Fund for urgent roof and spire repairs.
The church, which is a listed place of worship, last year received initial support from the HLF in the form of a Development Phase grant of £15,700.
Now the second grant, which covers 71 per cent of the total project cost, has been confirmed for the delivery phase.
This means the actual restoration work should commence within the next few months.
Designed and built in 1850 by famous local architect George Shaw, the magnificent spire of the Victorian Gothic church along with a large section of the roof is to be restored to its former glory.
This has all been made possible by the National Lottery players along with gifts and donations from generous local benefactors in the parish.
The restoration aims to carry out essential conservation work to the vibrant building, which is not only the focus of worship in Friezland but along with the Church Hall serves the local community for many other functions.
These include special events, a mums and tots group, afternoon cafe, art exhibitions, music and choral recitals, green gym, dancing, brownies, guides, kick-boxing, Whit Friday band contests, barbecues, children’s parties and pre-school playgroup.
Tony Littlewood, Chairman of the Church Fabric Committee, said: “We are delighted that all the work that went into the initial development phase which included many surveys, plans and architectural consultations has borne fruit and thanks to National Lottery players we are now able to see the project go ahead and continue to serve our community as it has done for the last 170 years.
“The magnificent design that George Shaw planned and executed using local craftsmen paid for by the Whitehead family who owned the Royal George Mills will now be preserved for the enjoyment of future generations.
“We hope more and more people will come and have a look around this magnificent building and hopefully find it in their hearts to contribute to the funding of this essential work.”
Tony has also taken on the task of producing a handbook/guide to Christ Church given that he has lived in another George Shaw creation – the Parsonage – next door for 25 years.
He explained: “Being an avid George Shaw fan ever since I purchased the house, I have accumulated every scrap of information and memorabilia I could.
“I am also indebted to members of the congregation who have supplied me with historical literature particularly Jo Johnson, a former churchwarden, and Jim Carr of Saddleworth Historical Society.
“It also seems befitting to thank our current churchwardens Duncan Ross and David Cartwright for all their invaluable assistance in the protracted efforts to procure the HLF grant.
“And I would like to thank benefactors who have asked to remain anonymous for their generous contributions.”