PEOPLE are being asked to dig deep and show the post-war spirit in order to save our town’s iconic St Wulfram’s spire from collapse.
Grantham’s greatest landmark is in urgent need of £600,000 worth of repairs - the first major work since the very top of the spire was fixed in 1946. The top 40ft of the spire needs to be removed and bottom part rebuilt to prevent it from falling down.
The church is applying for grants which it hopes will cover at least 60 per cent of the overall cost, but whatever funding they are able to secure, the Grantham community will need to provide a considerable sum.
Canon Christopher Andrews, Rector at St Wulfram’s Church, said: “I’m very hopeful. The people of Grantham do rise to the occasion when times are hard.
“In the 1940s we were coming out of the war and people hardly had a penny to bless themselves with. It’s the same thing again and I’m sure we will do it.
“The church has stood for 700 years and previous generations have all had to make sure the church is handed on in good repair. Now it is our turn to do the same.”
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Continued on The top 16ft of the spire was repaired in 1946. Now it is the 24ft below that section which requires urgent attention where stonework strengthened by iron clamps have split as the iron has rusted.
If the funding is forthcoming then the work, which will require the temporary removal of the top 40ft of the spire, will begin in 2014 and be completed in the Autumn.
Canon Andrews said: “Removing the top of the spire will be a strange sight and that will, in a way, be the most dramatic moment, when people see it’s real.
If the money cannot be raised then the top of the spire may have to be removed and capped before it becomes dangerous - cutting the height of the church by 40ft.
Canon Andrews said: “It’s extremely important because we have a pretty limited time to get it done before it becomes dangerous and we don’t want to get to that point.
“We don’t want to worry people because it is safe for the time being. But if we were to leave it for a number of years we will not be able to stop the corroding so the top of the spire will get more and more unstable.
“We would have to take professional advice which would likely mean we would have to deconstruct and cap it.
“Then we will have a very strange looking church and a very sad looking church.”
A special “Save the Spire” launch event will be held next weekend on Saturday, September 8 with a balloon race, tower tours and the chance to hear church architect Graham Cook explain the problem with the spire. The event will be launched at noon.
Canon Andrews said: “We need local support so we are asking people to be generous. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime job.
“What else is there like it in Grantham? There is the Angel and Royal but nothing on this scale.
“It’s just so big and important, locally and nationally. It’s recognised as a national monument.”