West Norfolk churches celebrate ‘heaven sent’ government roof grants

St Martin's Church Fincham, getting a grant to repair the Chancel Roof, Priest in Charge Barbara Burton with PCC member Stewart Waterston ANL-150330-082629009
St Martin's Church Fincham, getting a grant to repair the Chancel Roof, Priest in Charge Barbara Burton with PCC member Stewart Waterston ANL-150330-082629009

Snettisham’s landmark St Mary’s Church is set to receive a government grant of £96,400 towards the cost of repairing its leaking roof.

The church is one of several churches throughout North West Norfolk which will collectively be awarded hundreds of thousands of pounds to repair their roofs.

St Martin's Church Fincham, getting a grant to repair the Chancel Roof, Priest in Charge Barbara Burton with PCC member Stewart Waterston ANL-150330-082629009

St Martin's Church Fincham, getting a grant to repair the Chancel Roof, Priest in Charge Barbara Burton with PCC member Stewart Waterston ANL-150330-082629009

Treasurer of the Friends of St Mary’s, Mr Edward Stanton, said: “This is tremendous news for us and we are overjoyed. You could say it has been heaven sent.

“We set up a Heritage Committee in the village with an overall target of £250,000, so this grant will be of great assistance. It will enable us to get on with other things, such as developing the vestry into a community room and also to set up a refectory unit in the church.”

He was hopeful that the grant would cover the costs of replacing leading and stripping and renewing guttering.

Other Norfolk churches which will benefit from a Listed Places of Worship Roof Repair Fund announced by Chancellor George Osborne on Thursday, include Thornham’s All Saints’ Church which will receive £97,000 and the Church of St Clement at Burnham Overy, which will get £100,000.

Lynn’s All Saints’ Church will receive £20,900, North Pickenham’s St Andrew’s £17,700, the parish church of Houghton St Giles £16,700 and St Martin’s Church at Fincham £28,500.

Priest-in-charge at St Martin’s, the Rev Barbara Burton, said the grant should put an end to leaking problems which have blighted the building for up to three years.

She said: “We’re delighted. The roof has been leaking quite chronically for some time and it’s been very difficult to find the point of entry for the water.

“We were getting really concerned we would have to fundraise for a huge amount of money. We applied for this grant from the government with no real hope.

“There’s been so many calls from ancient churches for grants that, unless it was very serious, there was just no chance of getting any grant money.”

Rev Burton said it was not known when repairs would begin.

Grants announced last week account for £30 million of the allocated funding. The fund, said to be worth a further £25 million, will reopen to new applications later this year and successful applicants will be announced in 2016. All those who were unsuccessful in the first round of awards will be able to reapply.