Town church at risk of closure

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DAVENTRY’S Holy Cross Church could be forced to close unless £129,000 is raised before the end of the year.

Canon Michael Webber has launched a massive fundraising campaign after architects found the church needs serious repair work which will cost in the region of £320,000.

English Heritage has put the church on their ‘at risk’ list and offered a major grant of £197,000. But that is dependant on the church raising £129,000 itself by December this year.

In its latest round of grants English Heritage has also agreed to give cash to churches in Watford, Naseby and Aston le Walls.

The main problem at the Holy Cross Church is that the upper level stonework and balustrading have become badly weathered.

That has led to an accumulation of moss and debris on the high level cornice and the windows are no longer weather tight.

The church is a Grade I listed building and the only 18th century town church in the diocese of Peterborough.

Canon Webber said: “£129,000 is a huge sum to raise and we hope that all kinds of organisations in Daventry and the wider area may consider helping us.

“The Holy Cross Church is a focal building in the town used for worship, weddings, baptisms and funerals.

“If we can’t raise the money locally then English Heritage can withdraw the grant and it will be a crisis for us.

“The congregation will be busy holding fundraising events but also hopes that many other groups can support us.

“Leaders of the other churches in Daventry have also pledged their support.”

The Grade I-listed church of St Peter and St Paul, in Watford village, will use its £95,000 for extensive tower stonework repair and renewal, re-covering of the tower roof and improvements to the tower roof access to aid maintenance.

All Saints in Naseby will get £35,000 and the Church of St Leonard, in Aston Le Walls, will receive £56,000.