St Mary’s church in Warwick is looking forward to a prosperous New Year after its fundraising appeal went over the £1million milestone.
The restored Beauchamp chapel in the Collegiate church has reopened to the public following the first phase of major repair work in what volunteers described as “wonderful news”.
A major fundraising project for the historic space was launched in 2013 when it became clear that stonework of the 15th century building required vital attention.
After over 12 months of labour, the first phase of work is now complete. And as plans are put in place for a second round of fundraising to complete the vital refurbishments, thanks has been extended to everyone who has helped get the project this far.
Speaking at the end of last year, Alison Giles from the campaign team at the church said: “We are delighted to have passed the very important milestone of our first £1million raised since its start in 2013, but there’s still a long way to go.
“There remains a need for a further one million pounds’ worth of repairs to make St Mary’s future really secure.”
A new series of measures to pull in funds is expected to be announced early this year.
But measures such as December’s Christmas Tree Festival and the summer’s Beautiful Bunting project have all helped boost the kitty and open up the Grade I listed venue to celebrate what has been achieved to date.
An exhibition telling the story of the restoration so far opened last summer - another move to showcase the building’s significance, both historically and within Warwick.
A statement from the church read: “St Mary’s typically spends £18,000 a year on routine maintenance, but now the scope and costs of the work needed go well beyond maintenance.”
A total of £2.4million is needed to complete the work, and fundraisers have already passed the £1million mark.
Grants from English Heritage and the Heritage Lottery totalling over £620,000 were given to kick-start structural repair work described as “the highest priority”.
The chapel has previously been described by English Heritage as being “of exceptional interest” and is a major focal point in Warwick.
It is home to the tomb of Richard Beauchamp and its stained glass windows date back to the 1400s. The Crypt remains from the original Norman building, and houses a rare example of a medieval ducking stool.