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Heaven-sent gift for church
10:30am Friday 15th March 2013 in News
CHURCH leaders are celebrating pennies from heaven after they were given a vital £20,000 grant towards the cost of major roof repairs and renovations.
The money, from the National Churches Trust, will be used to carry out repairs at St Thomas’ Church in Rochdale Road.
Officials say the grant will go a long way towards the total they need to meeting a funding agreement after they were given £145,000 by English Heritage.
Work is now well under way on phase one of repairs to the south elevation of the building, which involves exposing the eaves and gutters.
The work requires the slate roofs to be re-covered with a proportion of new slate, together with new flashing. Dry rot will also be eradicated.
Church warden Angela Ikin said: “It is hoped that funding will be secured from English Heritage for the phase two repairs to the north side of the church. The aim is to get the building watertight, update the kitchen and toilet facilities and re-order the nave into a space which all the community can use.
“It is hoped that when all the work is finished the local community will come to think of the building not just for worship but for meetings, events and social functions.”
The full cost of repairs, the first phase of which is scheduled to finish in June, is £197,000. St Thomas’ Church has served the community of Pimhole for the past 147 years. It was the gift of Thomas Openshaw, a mill owner and well-known benefactor. The original cost was £8,000 and the church was built on a site given by the Earl of Derby.
Last year, the church was under the threat of closure, but, after a parish audit, it was decided it should remain open to serve the community.