New Year, New Campaign for Algarkirk's Church    

The Algarkirk Major Project Group is launching a new campaign to raise £300,000 to save the endangered church of St Peter and St Paul in Algarkirk (Boston, Lincolnshire). The money is required as match funding now that the “mini cathedral of the fens” has been awarded £1,789,100.00 by the Heritage Lottery Fund. “If we are to save this church for future generations, and make it a valuable resource for the local community, then this is a challenge we have to meet,” explained AMPG Chair, Di Reid.

It has been over five years since local people came together to form the Algarkirk Major Project Group (AMPG) and raise the money needed to repair this important building; to maintain the church as a place of worship within the village; to conserve and interpret its scheme of Victorian stained glass and interior decoration, which is one of the finest examples of Gothic revival in the country; and to re-establish the church as a resource for the community, which will include improving the facilities at the church.  They have been supported by the Diocese of Lincoln; Lincoln University, Heritage Lincolnshire, the local community, the Community Payback Scheme, and, their parish priest, Fr Paul Blanch. 

The grant represents 68% of the total project cost: the remainder needed will have to be generated through further fundraising and volunteer activities. Much, it is hoped, will come from major charitable organisations, but about a third will need to come from smaller, individual donations. The renovation and conservation work is expected to take about three years to be completed, but the AMPG are inviting the community to rally behind them.     

"We have now been given permission to start the work on the church,” stressed Di Reid. “At the moment specialists are tackling dry rot in the church – itself a massive undertaking. After all the hard work involved in getting approval for the grant, finally getting permission to start, being able to recruit the contractors and project manager, and so on, is tremendously exciting. We are very grateful to the Heritage Lottery Fund for their support, but we need more volunteers of all ages, and fund raisers to join us in saving this amazing building. We know how close the stained windows are to being lost forever. There are urgent problems relating to the structure and the decoration of the building that need to be addressed quickly if this historically and architecturally important church is to be saved.  Hopefully, this spring will see the start of the work needed to solve those problems, but we have a huge challenge ahead.”

Fr Paul Blanch said: “People have been worshipping at this site since the C10th. Now. Thanks to National Lottery players, we can hope that this church can be a source of spiritual inspiration and a focus for village life for many years to come. I cannot praise enough all those whose hard work has brought us this far. The church is here to serve the community, but it needs the community to continue to support the project if we are to make the most of the opportunities offered here. I am delighted to now be part of the project to preserve this wonderful building and all that it represents." 

“Since the AMPG started, a number of community based activities, ranging from craft clubs to a Messy Church, have been introduced which all add to the village’s resources. Plans for the church now include activities and workshops that have been attended by people from all walks of life and from all over the country, the installation of a café area, proper craft workshop facilities and a small library for the use of the community, as well, of course as continued church services," added churchwarden, Clive Briggs.         

The Diocese of Lincoln Church Buildings Department confirmed, “This is a Grade I listed building of national significance. It is a large Fenland church, the earliest parts of which date from the late 12th century, with phases of development following in 13th, 14th, and late 15th centuries. Between 1850 and 1854 the church was extensively restored by R. C. Carpenter, who collaborated with the famous Victorian designers J. G. Crace, Hardman & Co. and A.W.N. Pugin to produce a stunning scheme of decoration in the chancel. Later, a substantial scheme of stained glass windows by the important nineteenth-century manufacturers Clayton and Bell was installed.”        

ENDS   

           

Notes to editors        

About the Algarkirk Major Project Group (AMPG)  

In 2010 the church of St Peter and St Paul, Algarkirk faced closure unless action was taken to help repair and preserve the structure. In response, an overwhelming show of enthusiasm and support by the people of Algarkirk started the process of rediscovering the value and magnitude of this building to the local community. With mops and bucket loads of enthusiasm, Diocesan support and other professional guidance, local volunteers took the church to the point where, two years later, the AMPG was established with the aim of putting together a successful plan to re-establish Algarkirk's church as a centre and resource for its own community and a beacon of excellence for heritage-lovers everywhere.       

About the Heritage Lottery Fund    

About the Heritage Lottery Fund

Thanks to National Lottery players, we invest money to help people across the UK explore, enjoy and protect the heritage they care about - from the archaeology under our feet to the historic parks and buildings we love, from precious memories and collections to rare wildlife. www.hlf.org.uk.  Follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and use #HLFsupported.

Using money raised through the National Lottery, the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) aims to make a lasting difference for heritage, people and communities across the UK and help build a resilient heritage economy. From museums, parks and historic places to archaeology, natural environment and cultural traditions, we invest in every part of our diverse heritage. HLF has supported almost 36,000 projects with more than £6bn across the UK.  www.hlf.org.uk.   

For further information, images and interviews, please contact:         

Cheryllyn Humphreys, AMPG Communications Officer. cheryllynh@gmail.com / tel: 07796010319