We’re so much more than just a church, says Rev Linda Duckers, the vicar of Warwick’s rare Georgian Gothic St Nicholas church.
Rev Duckers is delighted with the way members of her congregation have been working together to raise the £250,000 needed to complete vital restoration work.
Fundraising has ranged from a summer of serving teas and home-made cakes every weekend to concerts and the 35 letters to trust funds and charities sent by parish council member Robert Perkins.
The latest grant, of £60,000, has just come in from Wren, the Waste Recycling and Environmental business that can provide money to applicants living within ten miles of landfill sites.
Rev Duckers said: “Our Grade I listed buiding dates back to 1785 and is so much more than just a church.
“It is a flexible building which can be, and is, used for a wide variety of community purposes like rehearsals and parents and toddler groups.
“We are so grateful to Wren for the generous offer of £60,000 towards the restoration of the pinnacles, stonework and windows on the south side of the nave.”
Cash for the building has also come in from English Heritage totalling nearly £110,000, along with several other bodies.
But it is the work of the parishioners that is particularly deserving of praise.
As well as the afternoon teas that raised a surprising £2,000 over the summer, there was a tea dance that brought in another £1,200, plus a range a ensembles. And coming up is a screening of the James Bond film Skyfall on October 5 and a performance of La Traviata on November 2nd by the young London-based group Opera Loki.
Mr Perkins, who is hopeful the final few thousand pounds can be raised locally said: “We are currently looking for 15 sponsors to fund £200 each to meet the opera singers’ expenses which means the greater part of ticket sales on the night will help finish the work.
“The maintenance and conservation of listed church buildings such as ours is a huge legal responsibility that falls on parochial church councils with little or no help from the Church of England as a whole.
“Without the help of bodies such as Wren, English Heritage and other charitable funds, it would simply not be possible to continue to maintain and conserve rare buildings like this.”
Earlier this year Rev Duckers did wonder whether any of the original five pinnacles removed from the church some 40 years ago had ended up being used as ornaments in Warwick gardens.
These were taken down before it was realised they were crucial to the structure of the building. Sadly, none has turned up.
Restoration will include replacement pinnacles along with the repair and partial replacement of three of the four large stained glass windows.
Tickets for La Traviata can by purchased by calling in at the church or via the Bridgehouse Theatre on www.bridgehousetheatre. co.uk tel 01926 776438.