Sheringham church to undergo �62,000 restoration - after being damaged by sea air

A huge restoration project is set to get under way in the new year to return a Sheringham church to its former glory.

The walls, stonework and spire at St Peter's Church have been in need of repair for several years as the high levels of salt in the sea air have slowly eaten away at the building's fabric.

Over the last year the church council has been carefully considering how best to tackle the problems - which also include leaky guttering and crumbling plaster work - and after consulting with architects it is now about to put its three month restorative plan into action.

Work to overhaul St Peter's problem areas will begin on Monday, January 9 and - if the timetable of works go to plan - is set to finish on Wednesday, March 15.

During the work sections of the church will be screened off and the inside will undergo a reshuffle, with the altar being moved into the chancel and the organ retiring temporarily while it is protected from builders' dust. A piano will be used instead and Sunday services will not be affected.

Sheringham vicar the Reverend Christian Heycocks said: 'St Peter's is a much loved and well used building, a focal point for the town both spiritually and communally, and we know that many people from all over Norfolk and beyond will be interested in what we are seeking to do and will be keeping us in their thoughts and prayers.

'We are seeking to secure the church building for future generations of Sheringham residents and all those who visit us throughout the year, particularly during holiday periods, from across the UK.

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'The church building is 115-years-old in 2012 and we hope that it will be here for many generations to come.'

The work will be split into two phases with the essential repairs being carried out first, which is expected to cost �62,500, followed by re-plastering and less important tasks. Funds for the important first stage of works have already been raised through the church's fabric fund, reserves and legacies, but donations will be needed to ensure the project can be completed.

Mr Heycocks said: 'We are fortunate to be in a position not to have to raise money for this initial work, especially at such a difficult financial time for so many people. However, it must be noted that we will want to raise money for future phases of work and to replenish the church fabric fund for the future.'

St Peter's is a rarity within Norfolk as it is one of only a few Victorian era churches. It opened in 1897 after the Upcher family provided the land for it to be built on and donated generously towards its construction.

It was originally built as a sister place of worship to All Saints in Upper Sheringham. But a boundary change in 1953 led to it becoming Sheringham's parish church when All Saints became linked with Weybourne.

? To donate to St Peter's repair work cheques - made payable to St Peter's PCC - can be sent to The Vicarage, 10 North Street, Sheringham NR26 8LW. Supporters can also set up a direct debit to make regular contributions. Call 01263 822 089 for more details.

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