DAVENTRY’S 18th-century Holy Cross Church has been saved from closure following an anonymous £50,000 donation.
Backed by the Daventry Express, churchgoers launched a campaign to save the Grade I listed building in April after surveyors found the roof was in a dangerous state of decay and the church was left facing a hefty £326,000 repair bill. Following a £197,000 grant from English Heritage the congregation had the enormous sum of £129,000 to raise before the end of this year. This sparked fears the target would not be reached and the building’s structure would become so weak it would be a danger to the public. This donation, in addition to the £32,000 raised by the public this year, will secure grant funding from English Heritage and allow for emergency work to begin on the roof, preventing imminent closure.
MEMBERS of the Holy Cross Church are delighted with the donation after almost a year of fundraising.
Canon Michael Webber said: “We had begun to feel like we would never get there and this donation has given us enormous encouragement.”
Church warden Peter Wagstaff said he knew a donation would be made but had no idea it would be so generous.
He said: “It is absolutely unbelievable – the church has effectively been saved.”
In October 2011 members of the church became aware of its decay. Surveyors said the iron stones that make up the building had weathered badly after thousands of years of being exposed to pollution and the elements and were crumbling. In November 2011 English Heritage put the church on its ‘at risk’ register and committed to giving the church a grant in December provided the congregation raised a large proportion of the money by the end of this year.
In April 2012 a campaign to save the church was launched followed by an ‘adopt a balluster’ fundraiser in May which saw 50 members of the community adopting part of the church roof for £100 each.
A ladies night and fashion show was the church’s most successful fundraising night in July followed by a mail drop in August which asked for donations from every household in Daventry.
Mr Wagstaff said: “The public have been very generous and have really supported us – we want to say a huge thank you to them and would ask for a final push to raise the last bit.”
Architects and stone masons are now preparing drawings and plans for the required work which is due to start in the new year.
Donations can still be made to help the church raise the final £47,000.
Donate online at www.justgiving.com/DaventryHolyCrossBuildingFund/ or by cheque to Canon Webber at The Rectory, Golding Close, Daventry, NN4 4FB.