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'It's not her responsibility': Queen defended over church repair bill

PUBLISHED: 14:11 29 November 2019 | UPDATED: 14:11 29 November 2019

HM the Queen was presented with flowers by well wishers after morning service at Wolferton Church. Picture: Ian Burt

HM the Queen was presented with flowers by well wishers after morning service at Wolferton Church. Picture: Ian Burt

Archant © 2014

Prince Charles has donated a "generous" sum towards repair work on a Norfolk church - as the Queen was defended over claims she should also have contributed.

Buckets and bowls to catch the rainwater running through the leaking roof at Wolferton Church. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYBuckets and bowls to catch the rainwater running through the leaking roof at Wolferton Church. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

The Queen is an occasional visitor to the 15th century St Peter's Church in Wolferton, and there have been suggestions she should have paid towards roof repairs.

But parochial church council chairman Michael Petch, 78, said funding the roof repairs was not her responsibility.

He said: "No, it is not her responsibility, it is the nation's responsibility. My wife and I went to a Diocese of Norwich meeting where they said the number of churches falling down was phenomenal, and most are much worse than we are.

"We are in a privileged position as part of the Sandringham group of churches, but we don't want to take advantage."

Inside Wolferton Church, which is having a problem with a leaking roof. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYInside Wolferton Church, which is having a problem with a leaking roof. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

The first phase of repair work to the leaking roof has been three-quarters completed this year, after the PCC raised the required £90,000.

Work on the church's north roof is set to be completed in spring next year.

Fundraising for the work began in 2016, and the church was refused Heritage Lottery Funding in 2017, before the total was finally reached this year.

Alongside donations from the Prince and the public, St Peter's has also received grants from Norfolk Churches Trust, the Allchurches Trust and the Geoffrey Watling Trust.

Wolferton Church showing the south side roof which is leaking. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYWolferton Church showing the south side roof which is leaking. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

The church now needs to raise the same amount again in order to fix its south roof which has also been leaking, however the north side was deemed more urgent due to the fact it was in poorer condition and loomed over a very valuable Victorian Willis organ, which is thought to have been played by royalty.

Members of the PCC said many of the church's oldest tiles were fine to be reused but tiles which had been installed around 25 years ago had begun to tumble from its roof.

The PCC is hoping all work will be completed next year, as after that it will not be able to claim VAT exemption.

The Queen last visited the church in February while staying at Sandringham, The church is to hold a performance of Cinderella on December 14, 15 and 16 and a carol concert in the near future, in order to raise money for the south roof.

The south side roof of Wolferton Church which is leaking. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYThe south side roof of Wolferton Church which is leaking. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

You may also want to watch:

Wolferton Church showing the new replacement red roof on the north side of the building. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYWolferton Church showing the new replacement red roof on the north side of the building. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Royals at Wolferton Church. Pictured: The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh leaving after morning service at Wolferton Church.
PHOTO: IAN BURT
COPY:Chris Bishop
FOR:EDP News
EDP pics © 2010
(01603)772434                             Royals at Wolferton Church. Pictured: The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh leaving after morning service at Wolferton Church. PHOTO: IAN BURT COPY:Chris Bishop FOR:EDP News EDP pics © 2010 (01603)772434

HM the Queen arrives at Wolferton Church. Picture: Ian BurtHM the Queen arrives at Wolferton Church. Picture: Ian Burt



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