Cowling'S Holy Trinity Church has been given £70,000 to make urgent repairs to its tower.

A fundraising campaign was launched last year to raise the thousands of pounds needed to renovate the church.

Campaigners submitted a joint bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund and English Heritage for grants to fund a package of restoration and renovation plans, which would open up the church to community groups.

And this week the organisers have been told Cowling is one of six Grade II listed churches in Yorkshire to receive a grant under the Repair Grants for Places of Worship scheme.

Treasurer Margaret Henley told the Herald: "We wouldn't be able to do the project without this money. Getting the grant has really spurred us on. Now we can start to get estimates, for example, for the scaffolding."

Work to the tower will include constructing a new timber roof deck above the clock faces, dismantling and rebuilding parapets and pinnacles, re-covering the lead roof, repointing the buttress, the south and west elevations and some of the north and east walls and repairs to the internal floors of the tower and joinery.

The grant will also fund repairs to the nave. The total cost of this work is likely to be around £105,000.

John Hinchliffe, English Heritage's acting regional director for Yorkshire, said: "Many churches in the region experience real difficulty in meeting maintenance costs, so these grants will make a big difference.

"Being able to make timely repairs often avoids a much bigger bill further down the road. We are delighted to be able to work with the Heritage Lottery Fund in offering this much needed support."

Ian Carstairs, the Heritage Lottery Fund chairman for Yorkshire and Humber, said: "Yorkshire's churches and places of worship are hugely important for their architectural and historic value, but also provide local communities with a vital place to come together.

"This major investment by the Heritage Lottery Fund and English Heritage will ensure that they can continue to be enjoyed for years to come."

The committee also wants to deconsecrate the seating area, remove the pews and open it up for community use. They would like to see the altar and pulpit area screened off so the main hall could be divided up into small meeting places for educational use or fundraising groups.

Other items on the wishlist include an electric clock to replace the current one, which requires winding twice a week, installing heating and toilets, along with a water supply, drainage and a new kitchen.

Mrs Henley said it would take a long time to raise this type of money but they would continue to apply for more funding and hold fundraising events, like the recent performance by Steeton Male Voice Choir

One of the main priorities is the heating which would alleviate the damp and make it more pleasant for the congregation. During the winter worshippers have been meeting in the Methodist Church as Holy Trinity was too cold.