Church appeal boosted by lottery fund

The Rev Shena Bell with church officers and visitors at the St Peter's Church open day in Raunds
The Rev Shena Bell with church officers and visitors at the St Peter's Church open day in Raunds

An day highlighting the need for a million pound restoration project has taken place at one of Northamptonshire’s most historic churches.

The event at St Peter’s Church in Raunds, which dates back to 1220 and whose walls contain medieval paintings, attracted a number of interested people who were keen to explore the building and to get involved in its future.

Rector Reverend Shena Bell and church officers were on hand to show people around the Grade I listed church, and to point out the state of the building, which is in urgent need of extensive structural restoration, costing in excess of a million pounds.

Visitors were heartened to learn that as a result of the support of the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), who have awarded an initial sum of £40,500 to the church, St Peter’s can now apply for a full grant.

Extensive professional surveys of the building and its interior, and a programme of events to keep the public informed are underway.

Phase one of the restoration, costing £330,000, could begin within a few months.

As part of the bid to keep visitors informed, project organisers are enlisting a team of volunteer tour guides, so that when work is under way, they will be on site to show visitors around the church while updating them on progress of the work.

Once building work is complete the volunteers will then deliver a new programme of activities, workshops and events for individuals and groups of all ages - part of the HLF remit is to fund projects which will benefit all the community.

Mrs Maureen Windust, of St Peter’s fundraising group, said: “With the support of Heritage Lottery Fund, not only will restoration work be undertaken, but our exciting plans for new and improved facilities for children and grown-ups of all ages to enjoy a wide range of cultural, teaching and social events, can become a reality.”

St Peter’s Church Appeal has already raised over £90,000 to pay for the underpinning work at the church.

The church fundraising has been boosted by donations of foreign coins, CDs, DVDs, clothing, ink toner and mobile phones which have been used to raise cash.