A village church has secured a grant of £219,087 from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) towards urgently needed repairs to its spire, tower and drainage.
This is in addition to a £22,900 development grant awarded in April 2016.
The money has been awarded to St Denys’ Church, in Aswarby, through HLF’s Grants for Places for Worship programme.
Chairman of St Denys’ volunteers Sonia Playne said: “We are delighted and very grateful to receive this significant grant from the HLF. This recognises months of hard work by the villagers and friends of Aswarby and St Denys’ Church.
“We have had marvellous help from our HLF mentor, Lisa Davenport, and our architects, Peter Rogan Associates. We are all excited that the much needed hard work of undertaking repairs can now begin.”
The grant will support urgently needed repairs after the building was forced to close two years ago. A structural survey revealed a number of major problems with the tower and spire, the chancel and nave roofs, the south porch and drainage. Urgent work was undertaken in 2016 to make the building safe for use.
St Denys’ is a Grade I listed building with historical importance. George Bass, after whom the Bass Strait between Tasmania and mainland Australia is named, was born in Aswarby and christened in the church. His father and grandfather were both churchwardens.
The significance of this building to Australian and British history has been shown by letters of support from the Hon Sir Alexander Downer AC, the High Commissioner of Australia, Dr Kevin Fewster AM, Director of the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich, London, and three local historical associations in Australia, among others.
Part of the work towards successfully obtaining the grant has included the local community of Aswarby hosting a day’s visit from the nearby Osbournby Primary School and researching the history of George Bass and his importance in modern day Australia.
The grant will help fund a number of activities including the production of displays and literature which will be available in the future, both at St Denys’ and online.
Head of HLF East Midlands Jonathan Platt said: “Historic places of worship like St Denys’ Church have fascinating stories to tell, and are often at the heart of local communities. Thanks to National Lottery players, we can help to address the church’s urgent conservation needs and share its heritage widely.”
In addition to the repair work supported by the HLF grant, lead from the previously sound north aisle roof was stolen in November 2016, which has increased the need for other funding from grants, donations and village fund-raising activities.
To support the project visit www.justgiving.com/crowd funding/penniesforstdenys church