St Mary’s Church in Baldock starts ‘Sponsor a Stone’ scheme to help reach £350,000 restoration target

Rev Andrew Holford

Rev Andrew Holford - Credit: Archant

The custodians of Baldock’s historic parish church are approaching their fundraising target for the latest phase of restoration – and it’s hoped a ‘Sponsor a Stone’ campaign will help them get over the finishing line.

The work to restore the south aisle roof at St Mary’s Church is expected to cost £350,000, with a programme of internal carried out at the same time to improve the lighting for visitors and enlarge the space available for concerts and the like.

Donations from charities and the local community have raised more than 90 per cent of this – and the vicar Rev Andrew Holford is hoping the stone-sponsoring initiative will help the Grade I listed church raise the last £35,000.

“The people of Baldock are incredibly generous and have supported us really well,” he said.

“They’ve come on board to support what has to be the primary focal point of the town and help to keep it in really good condition.

“When we did the tower we did Buy a Brick. That went very well, so we’re repeating that.

“We started about a year ago in church, and have raised about £2,000 so far. Now we’re having a big push on the Sponsor a Stone now to raise some more.

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“It’s a bit like the Forth Bridge – once you finish at one end, you have to start on the other – but we’re doing our best with our responsibility to take care of this historically important building.”

Folks can sponsor a stone for £10, or a crenellation – one of the fortification-style notches along the rooftop – for £200, either in their own names or in the names of loved ones. Sponsors will be given certificates.

This is the second phase of restoration, after the first round a few years ago in which the public helped to raise more than £750,000 to restore the church tower and spire.

The vicar said: “I’m sure you agree that looks stunning and really enhances the prospect of the town from whatever angle you are travelling.

“With Gift Aid, if we get sponsors for all the stones we hope to raise more than £10,000, a substantial part of the outstanding funding required.

“After this we hope to embark on the main roof and then the interior.”

If you’re interested in sponsoring a stone, pop into Satchells on the High Street or go to