Dot appeals to public and parishioners to help fund repairs to historic Longridge church

Churchwarden Dot Little explains why she hopes the community will rally to support a JustGiving appeal for work at Longridge's ancient parish church of St Lawrence.

Wednesday, 3rd March 2021, 12:30 pm

An appeal has been launched to help maintain a Lancashire parish church for future generations.

Dot Little, a churchwarden at St Lawrence with St Paul's in Longridge, says she and fellow wardens are very aware it has been a difficult year for so many people due to the pandemic.

But she says she hopes local residents will understand why they are launching a Just Giving appeal and donate if they can.

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Churchwarden Dot Little outside St Lawrence's CE church, Longridge Photo: Neil Cross

The problem can be summed up in one word - weather. Rainwater has been getting into the tower and the south transept side chapel at the church of St Lawrence, off Lower Lane, and work is now urgently needed to make the building weather proof.

Dot said: "There's been a church on that site since around the 1500s. It's one of the oldest buildings and it has overseen Longridge from being just a small hamlet of a few houses and farms to the town it is today over a span of 500 years.

"The history of that church is in the churchyard - all the mill owners and quarry owners as Longridge developed, these people rest in the churchyard of St Lawrence. Therefore it has a place at the heart of our community."

Thanks to a legacy donation the £40,000 repairs have already begun on the tower to make it watertight. But a recent church inspection of the state of the building also highlighted the need for a further £25,000 of repair work in the side chapel where there are persistent problems with dampness and flaking plaster.

Repairs being made to the tower at St Lawrence's Photo: Neil Cross

The tower area holds eight bells and the church's clock mechanism. The tower work includes repairs to timber beams, stonework, louvres, flagpole fixings and the bell frames.

Fundraising had been hit by the lack of usual events such as Christmas and spring fairs due to the pandemic, which has also meant it is harder to plan ahead said Dot, adding: "All churches and charities have suffered in the past 12 months."

She said that is why the churchwardens and Parochial Church Council had concluded the best thing would be to launch the JustGiving page now.

She said any donations, large or small, would be most welcome, adding : "It's such a beautiful historic building. You can virtually feel the prayers of 500 years when you go in. To me it holds a special place in the community and because of these difficult times we 're having to ask people to support us and to support this important building which has been so important to Longridge. We are stewards in our generation of that legacy and we want to ensure its future."

Dot Little in the side chapel at St Lawrence's photo: Neil Cross

The church also contains more modern elements. The internationally renowned glass artist Brian Clarke carried out one of his first commissions at St Lawrence's.

To access the the St Lawrence's Just Giving page see here or search for it at justgiving.com/pcc-longridge

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View of ongoing work at St Lawrence's Photo: Fred Little