Onwards and upwards for Baldock church after bagging funding double

Rev Andrew Holford at St Mary's Church

Rev Andrew Holford at St Mary's Church - Credit: Archant

The congregation of St Mary’s Church is even more cheery than usual after a funding double whammy was granted for the restoration of Baldock’s major focal point.

This message of thanks has been placed outside St Mary's Church in Baldock after the funding for the

This message of thanks has been placed outside St Mary's Church in Baldock after the funding for the tower's restoration was paid off. - Credit: Archant

Not only has the church team finished paying off the £750,000 which was needed to restore the church tower and spires three years ago – a fact which is gleefully being acknowledged with a giant thank you message on Hitchin Street – but the future is looking rosy as well after a £211,000 grant was received from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

This latest cash injection will go towards restoring the south aisle roof, repairing the crumbling masonry crenelations, renewing the lighting system and reordering some of the internal features of the church, which has been described as ‘crippingly expensive’ to run.

The total cost of the project is in the region of £350,000, but after the lottery funding and a host of grassroots fundraising from people around the town, ‘only’ £35,000 still needs to be raised to restore the roof and keep churchgoers dry.

After paying off the tower and spire debt, the group can now move onto the next phase of restoration, and there are plans for scaffolding to go up around the church next month.

Rev Andrew Holford, who is rector of St Mary’s, said: “I am delighted to be involved in this second phase of restoration work, and excited about the difference it will make to all those visiting St Mary’s.

“We know from our past experience of the tower and spire how generous local residents are and believe we can rely on you again to help complete the work on Baldock’s major focal point.”

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The church is also working on producing a historical guide to the church thanks to a grant from North Herts District Council.

Councillor John Harris, who is chairman of the Baldock area committee, said: “This initiative is a great way for the Friends of St Mary’s Church Group to preserve and pass on information about the fascinating history of the church to generations for years to come.”