July 24 2014 Latest news:
Sunday, June 1, 2014
An appeal has been issued to the people of Lowestoft to help safeguard a lasting tribute to townsfolk who died serving their country in the First World War.
St Margaret’s Church needs to raise funds to repair and renovate its chapel which is the home to the town’s war memorial – a roll of honour listing 727 men who lost their lives.
It comes as the nation prepares to make the centenary of the start of the First World War in August.
At present, the chapel walls are damp and need urgent repair.
But the church hopes that the first stage of its appeal will raise £5,000 to help protect the chapel and its roll of honour, which attracts people from across the UK and abroad – many of whom visit Lowestoft to research their relatives’ wartime deeds and roles.
The support of the public will be vital as the appeal comes as St Margaret’s faces up to a £59,000 shortfall in funding because of a dramatic fall in the donations it receives from churchgoers.
Churchwarden Arthur Sparkes, who is leading the chapel repair group, said he hoped the approach of the centenary events this summer would prompt people to rally round
He said: “The chapel is now in need of urgent repair and maintenance.
“The damp is getting into all the walls and we need to repair them with lime plaster. We really do need to have £5,000 in the bank to start us off so we can do something.”
Mr Sparkes is organising a First World War exhibition at the church in early August which will help to raise funds for the chapel appeal.
He said: “We cannot afford morally to let the memorial go into disrepair. It is the official war memorial of the town and it is a lasting tribute to those who lost their lives.”
As well as raising funds for the chapel work, St Margaret’s Church needs to find £59,000 to cover the costs of its paid ministry.
The funding gap is mainly down to a large fall in donations and collections of about £45,000 over the 12-month period ending in April.
• Anyone keen to support the appeal or provide items for the exhibition should call Mr Sparkes on 01502 584320 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org
• Are you organising any events in the Lowestoft area to mark the start of the First World War? Email email@example.com