Royal approval for restoration work

A MEMBER of the royal family cast his expert eye over the restoration work now in progress on Hertfordshire s largest parish church. The Duke of Gloucester, a trained architect and 18th in line to the throne, visited St Mary s Church in Hitchin last Thurs

A MEMBER of the royal family cast his expert eye over the restoration work now in progress on Hertfordshire's largest parish church.

The Duke of Gloucester, a trained architect and 18th in line to the throne, visited St Mary's Church in Hitchin last Thursday and took part in a special Thanksgiving service.

He was joined by a congregation of more than 400 people to celebrate the end of the town's £300,000 appeal for urgent repairs to the thousand-year-old 'Heart of Hitchin'.

Following the service the duke saw an exhibition of photographs showing how work had already started on repairing weather-damaged medieval stonework on the roof and around the windows.

The duke, alongside Reverend Michael Roden, Paul Brenham, the chairman of St Mary's Preservation Trust, and Christopher Mann, the trust secretary, went on to join a reception where the he chatted to fundraisers.