MAJOR roof repairs at the Parish Church in Heckmondwike are to go ahead after confirmation of a £176,500 grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

The total cost of the project at St James’, Church Lane, is expected to reach £217,976, and will ensure that the almost 200-year-old building is watertight for many years to come.

The Reverend Karen Young, the vicar of Heckmondwike, said: “We’re delighted that we’ve received this support from the National Lottery players.

“Through the Lottery contribution we are all winners, as repairing the roof will help us to maintain this beautiful building for the foreseeable future.

“Our church has provided a place for worship, live entertainment, and large group activities for almost two centuries, and it’s great to know that we are a step closer to preserving it for a further two hundred years,” she added.

The work involves repairing and recovering the roofs of the church and should be completed by this winter. The building will remain open throughout.

The church itself is roofed in Westmoreland Grey slates, and fresh slates have now been ordered to carry out the much-needed repair project.

The spire and tower have already been renovated.

In addition to major repairs on the roof the project will also involve heritage activities such as producing materials that will allow people in the community to find out more about the church, its heritage and its buildings; as well as research work on the heritage of the people of the town, whose names are listed on the war memorials in the church.

The church, which was built in 1831 is a focal point for the local community and has around 12,500 visits each year.

A new chancel and a Lady Chapel were added in 1905, with a community room created at the west end of the church more recently.