December 7 2013 Latest news:
Wednesday, September 25, 2013
The battle to restore a ruined Norfolk church tower has been given a vital boost, after it was awarded a grant of just under £50,000.
And campaigners who have fought to repair and restore the crumbling 15th century St Mary’s Tower, in Great Melton, west of Norwich, say the money will go a long way to helping them reopen the Grade II* listed building to the public.
The grant has been awarded to the Great Melton Parochial Church Council by not-for-profit company WREN, from an £835,000 fund helping to save important heritage sites.
The tower ruin of St Mary, now on the English Heritage ‘at risk’ register, is in danger of partial collapse. Having now been fenced off due to fears of falling masonry, WREN’s grant will allow the tower to be restored to its former glory and make it safe for the public to approach and visit the graveyard.
Elisabeth Plummer, secretary of Great Melton Parochial Church Council, said: “I am so grateful to WREN for the grant. Without it, we would not be able to complete the project so it would be left unfinished and liable to further decay in the future.
“I have been passionate about opening St Mary’s Tower to the public for a number of years as its closure has meant the residents and walkers who come through the village have not been able to appreciate its historical importance.
“With WREN’s funding we hope to start the project by spring next year.”
WREN awards grants to community, conservation and heritage projects within a 10-mile radius of landfill sites, from funds donated by FCC Environment to the Landfill Communities Fund.
Peter Cox, managing director of WREN, said: “We’re delighted to support the restoration of St Mary’s Tower and look forward to seeing the project progress.
“It is so important to protect significant historical sites such as St Mary’s Tower to ensure they can be appreciated by future generations.”
Projects which could benefit from the fund must be highlighted to WREN by four of its partner organisations: English Heritage, Historic Scotland, Cadw (Wales) or the National Churches Trust.
John Ette, principal adviser for Heritage at Risk at English Heritage said: “We look forward to seeing the investment create a lasting impact on the church tower as a visual monument feature in the village landscape.”