LETTER: Church appeal still inspires support

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IN the front page article you kindly published on August 31, it was made clear that St Wulfram’s had already applied for a Heritage Lottery grant before the appeal opened to help with maybe 60 per cent of the cost of the spire repairs.

Another of your correspondents asked why money had been spent before grants had been applied for. This expenditure in early 2012 was necessary to stabilise and make the spire safe.

One of your editorials implied that we did not have insurance cover for earthquake damage.

We certainly do have such cover, since our annual premium is over £15,000 per year, but, of course, the spire damage was caused by the use of cast iron tie rods in the 18th century. The long-term effects of these were unknown at the time.

The church has been kept in very good condition over the years with the help of many legacies and gifts along with the work of the Friends of St Wulfram’s.

We keep a separate fabric fund to achieve this. The fabric fund is used for routine expenditure and cannot cope with the quite exceptional cost of the spire repairs. The stabilising expenditure of £24,000 referred to above came from our fabric fund.

Another letter suggested the church was wealthy enough to pay for the repairs. The CofE has 4,200 Grade I listed churches, 8,000 at Grade II and 16,000 church buildings in total. In fact, 46 per cent of ALL Grade I listed buildings are churches. The church assets are insufficent to cover the cost of repairs to these buildings, and that is why local parishes have the responsibilty.

We do not demand money for St Wulfram’s, we merely ask for any help that people wish to give.

The appeal has started well and it was heartening to see so many people enter into the spirit of our tombola morning in the Morrisons centre on Saturday, and it was clear that the people of Grantham felt the church, and indeed the spire, belonged to them and was a part of the town we should value. Many thanks to Morrisons for their help.

It will be some months before we know the outcome of the Heritage Lottery grant application, and we shall continue fund-raising.

We are aware that asking for financial help for a church, however well-loved as both a church and a fine building, will cause controversy, but we believe that most Granthamians do not not wish to see a stump on the top of St Wulfram’s. This is what they would see if we have to remove the damaged part.

We welcome the efforts to restore the spire.

COURTNEY FINN

St Wulfram’s Church Council