Lottery fund grant helps Shefford church repair 14th-century tower

St Michael and All Angels' Church, Shefford. Picture: David Kemp / CC BY-SA 2.0

St Michael and All Angels' Church, Shefford. Picture: David Kemp / CC BY-SA 2.0 - Credit: Archant

Shefford’s parish church has been given a £219,000 lottery grant to repair its 14th-century tower.

St Michael and All Angels’ Church, in High Street, will use the mammoth grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund to make its tower safe and structurally stable.

Other improvements that will be made to the 14th-century building include energy-efficient lighting and a more accessable entrance.

The total cost of the project exceeds £300,000 – with support through volunteering and donations from schools, businesses and other organisations in the town helping the church reach its target.

Churchwarden Pat Goulding said: “We’re delighted to have received this support.

“The restoration would have been impossible without this grant.

“We look forward to seeing the tower restored, and to recording and sharing Shefford’s heritage with local people and visitors”.

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Schoolchildren will also be involved in the restoration – recording people’s memories of Shefford and recreating the tales through decorative ceramic tiles.

Robyn Llewellyn from the Heritage Lottery Fund said: “This wonderful project is a great illutration of how lottery players’ money is helping to bring together heritage and communities.

“The project will help protect a very special building, and now even more people will get to share the beautiful space and its stories.”

The Heritage Lottery Fund – with the help of players – invests money into historic projects ranging from parks to buildings.

The Anglican church, which was substantially rebuilt in 1822, has been a grade II-listed building since 1966. It was originally a chapel of ease for Campton’s church, hosting non-eucharistic services such as mattins and evensong. Holy communion was first celebrated at Shefford in 1853.

Today, as well as offering worship throughout the week, the church hosts a community events like coffee mornings, a market cafe and walking tours around the historic building.

Rev Roni Goodman thanked the lottery fund for its contribution, and said she is excited to welcome all those who helped the project to the church.

“We are so grateful for the help we have received from Heritage Lottery Fund and from so many people in the community,” she said.

“At one time the task before us seemed very daunting.

“However we are looking forward now to the time when we can welcome all those who helped make it happen into St Michael’s to celebrate the completion of the work.”

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