How you can help to save this iconic Lowestoft church from ruin
- Credit: Nick Butcher
It is one of Lowestoft's best-loved and historic buildings which has been an iconic focal point of the town for 750 years.
Yet despite surviving two world wars and weathering countless tidal storms, the future of St Margaret's Church today hangs in the balance – unless you, the public, can help raise £300,000 needed to save it from potential ruin.
Parishioners were given the news last Sunday (November 20) that they had been hit by a double whammy of needing to fix six leaking windows – at a cost of £150,000 – and a 50-year-old boiler, to the tune of £100,000.
With architects' fees and other associated costs likely to run into tens of thousands, it leaves volunteers facing a major and urgent repair bill – or face having to close the town's largest church.
That would mean losing one of the area's most important assets, which holds 20 weddings and 30 funerals per year and hosts major community events, such as Lowestoft College's graduation ceremony and the popular annual Christmas service.
You may also want to watch:
It also welcomes several school visits each year.
Churchwarden Pam Shaw said St Margaret's will 'limp on' with its ageing boiler and 100-year-old pipes for as long as it can, but that it may cause difficulties holding events if it does break down
- 1 Boss who boasted of lavish lifestyle is bankrupt with £100k debts
- 2 Police action over 'slavery' flag flying in Norwich garden
- 3 'It was divine' - Why this seafood platter is receiving rave reviews online
- 4 Garage owner has five months to clear site or face jail
- 5 'Shocked' couple almost given wrong Covid jab
- 6 ‘You’re trespassing’ - What happened when we gave Matt Hancock QEH petition
- 7 Owners put Tudor mansion wedding venue up for sale for £3.9m
- 8 Safety review promised as cyclist killed in crash is named
- 9 City draw up target list
- 10 Music-lovers' pub could be demolished for 23 flats
'It's used for weddings, funerals and baptisms by the whole of Lowestoft,' she said.
Two leaking windows which gave way 'out of the blue' last year have already been fixed, meaning that volunteers think the remaining six are on 'borrowed time'.
If they give way, the damage caused by the leaking would force the church to close.
Mrs Shaw and other members of the church have already written to organisations like the Heritage Lottery Fund and the Suffolk Historic Churches Trust to enquire about potential grants that may be available.
But she said: 'We need the support of the community.
'Even if people can just give a little, any donation small or large will make a difference.'
Mrs Shaw is also writing to businesses to ask them if they may make a donation for the good of the town.
A fund-raising committee is due to be formed to look at holding events to generate funds.
'It's part of Lowestoft's heritage,' she said of the building.
'The church has been here for over 750 years, providing somewhere for funerals and baptisms.
'We're here for the people of Lowestoft – can the people of Lowestoft now be here for us?'
Capt Paul McDonough, community minister at St Margaret's, added: 'It has stood through war and major storms. We want to go on serving the community of Lowestoft with our building – but that building is now at risk.'
To donate, write to St Margaret's Rectory, 147 Hollingsworth Road, Lowestoft, NR32 4BW