THOUSANDS of pounds will be pumped into restoring a town centre church to its former glory.
Deteriorating stonework at St Giles’ Church in Pontefract will be repaired with help from a £173,000 grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF).
The grant comes from more than £15m worth of lottery money made available for urgent repairs to around 150 of England’s most important listed churches, chapels and temples.
Rev Bob Cooper, vicar of St Giles’, said: “We are obviously delighted to receive this grant as we have been concerned about the continuing erosion of the external fabric of the church for some time.
“We were particularly worried about the south elevation facing Market Place which is a favourite roosting place for the town’s pigeons and adds to the rate of deterioration of the stonework.”
The funding will pay for phase one of the repairs – scheduled to start in the autumn – and will concentrate on the south and west elevations of the building.
A further grant application will be made in June this year to carry out the second phase of the repairs to the north and east elevations.
A spokeswoman from HLF confirmed the money had been awarded under the repair grants for places of worship scheme.
Fiona Spiers, head of HLF for Yorkshire, said: “Historic places of worship are an irreplaceable part of our heritage that continue to play a vital role within local communities today.
“In the last ten years, the Heritage Lottery Fund has invested £155m into these wonderful buildings and I am delighted we are able to continue supporting congregations across Yorkshire to safeguard them for future generations.”
Architects carried out investigation work into the condition of the church in 2007 and recommended that stonework repairs be carried out within five years.
In addition to the repair of stonework, renovation work will be carried out on rainwater pipes and church windows, while pigeon deterrents will be installed to prevent further deterioration.