9:50am Wednesday 6th June 2012
Historic Haworth Parish Church will be having its last service next month – but only for the time being.
The Victorian church (pictured) will temporarily shut its doors on Sunday, July 8, until mid-October for the first stage of a major restoration project.
The plan is to replace its south-facing roof and refurbish the tower in a space of 15 weeks as part of a five-year, three-stage restoration scheme which will eventually cost in the region of £1.25 million.
Building work for the first stage of the plan will cost £227,000.
The church’s vicar, the Reverend Peter Mayo-Smith, said: “It’ll be wonderful to see the building work start after all our fundraising work.
“We’ve got some long-standing wedding arrangements for the church which we will honour and we’ve been negotiating with our architect and contractors to ensure that the building looks as good as possible for the wedding couples.”
Apart from wedding ceremonies, most of the church’s services will be held across the other side of Haworth’s Church Street, in the Patrick Bronte-designed Old School Room.
Meanwhile, fundraisers will be keeping up the hard work as they are still some £27,000 of hitting their target for the first stage of the restoration. Grants totalling £115,000 have come from English Heritage to help develop the project and pay a significant contribution towards the building work.
The church has raised almost £100,000 from donations by well-wishers, securing grants, staging its own events and receiving funds raised from community projects such as the Haworth calendar and Haworth Beer Festival.
John Huxley, chairman of the Church’s Future Group – the body responsible for finding grant funding – said: “We are optimistic we will hit our target for the first stage of £227,000, even though we’ve still got around £27,000 to find.
“We have an application for a grant with a major national funder, our own cash-raising programmes are still attracting support and we have high expectations of attracting support from the Government’s Listed Places of Worship Fund. But we’re conscious that we must continue to earn more money by our own efforts.”
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