Historic church’s repair work cash

Prominent landmark: Parish priest Father Simon Hawksworth inside Preston's St Walburge's Church
Prominent landmark: Parish priest Father Simon Hawksworth inside Preston's St Walburge's Church
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It takes a lot of work to maintain one of Preston’s most prominent landmarks.

From its dominant spire, the third tallest in the country, to its spectacular stained glass windows, keeping St Walburge’s Church standing strong is a labour of love.

The 160-year-old Grade I Listed church has now been given an £80,000 grant to repair stone mullions which have corroded over the years.

Parish priest Fr Simon Hawksworth said: “It’s a bit like the Forth Bridge I’m afraid, the work is continuous.”

The grant has been given by the Heritage Lottery Fund and makes up the third phase of repairs to the mullions, which divide the large windows into smaller sections.

Fr Hawksworth said: “We have great big windows and they were originally held together by iron bars.

“Over the years the metal has started to corrode and when it starts to corrode it forces the stonework to split.

“We have had to completely take the windows out, replace the stonework and put the double glazing in.

“The Heritage Lottery Fund has always been very supportive with us.”

The work, primarily to windows facing Pedder Street, will be put out to tender before being started as soon as possible.

Sara Hilton, head of Heritage Lottery Fund North West, said: “Historic places of worship form prominent and much-loved landmarks in our cities across the North West.

“They are unique buildings that bring local communities together for a variety of reasons from worship through to culture and leisure.

“Since 1994, the Heritage Lottery Fund has invested more than £500m into these precious buildings across the UK and with these new grants we aim to ensure even more are secured for future generations to enjoy.”

Henry Owen-John, English Heritage Planning and Conservation Director for North West, said: “Listed places of worship make up an elemental part of the historic fabric of England.

“They are familiar and much-loved landmarks and it is crucial they are cared for and repaired.

“Thanks to the joint working between the Heritage Lottery Fund and English Heritage these wonderful buildings, which mean so much to so many, will remain part of our story for years to come.”

Last year work was carried out to replace corroding iron on windows on the church’s famous spire.

The Roman Catholic church was built in 1850 and has the tallest spire of any parish church in England.

After Salisbury and Norwich Cathedrals, it is the third tallest spire in England.