Appeal launched to save Warwick’s iconic church tower

The tower at St Mary's Church.
The tower at St Mary's Church.
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Volunteers and members of a church in Warwick are facing a mammoth fundraising task so vital restoration work can go ahead.

A new fundraising drive has been launched to raise more than half a million pounds to restore the iconic tower of St Mary’s Church.

St Mary's Church tower.

St Mary's Church tower.

This latest fundraising project is one of many that have taken place over the last few years.

In 2011 there was an inspection of the church, which highlighted a number of problems that required urgent attention.

The St Mary’s Fundraising Campaign was launched in 2012 to raise £2,700,000 so all the remedial work could be carried out.

The first phase, which was recently completed and cost nearly £900,000, was done to restore the masonry of the 15th century Beauchamp Chapel.

Major work was also carried out on the chancel and chapel roofs.

The second phase of work will be taking place this year, which will see repairs to the main church roof and improvements to the drainage.

This work has already started and is estimated to cost £170,000.

Now more funds are needed for the third phase to repair the church’s tower, which was built in 1704 and can be seen from miles around.

Mary Adams, one of the volunteers at the church, said: “Over the centuries different types of stone and mortar have been used for repairs, and chemical reactions between these dissimilar materials have exacerbated the effects of weathering.

“As a result, there is a great deal of flaking and disintegration of the stonework. A recent specialist report concluded that the need for repair is ‘urgent to secure hazardous loose masonry’.”

The costs for the tower’s repair has been estimated at £650,000, which includes more than £150,000 for scaffolding.

The Rev Vaughan Roberts, vicar at St Mary’s church, said: “The pinnacles at the top of the tower are eroding and crumbling away and we need to make sure the tower is restored for future generations.

“The tower can be seen by all the people who are travelling home to Warwick and when they see it they think ‘I am nearly home’. It has an iconic presence in the town.

“We are hoping to raise the money by the end of the year as we want restoration work to start in 2018. If all goes to plan we are hopeful we can get the scaffolding up in the spring of next year but that depends on the weather.

“St Mary’s Church tower is an iconic part of the Warwick scene and if there are any local bodies or individuals who want to give towards the appeal by all means get in touch with us as we would love to hear from them.”

The first fundraising event will be ‘Love, of course!’, where the Da Capo choir will be singing love-themed songs at the church on March 18.

The event also includes a six-course taster menu. Tickets cost £50 or there is a group discount, where tables of 10 can be reserved for £400 or tables of six for £250. The performance and dinner start at 7.30pm.

Tickets can be bought by emailing events@stmaryswarwick.org.uk or calling 01926 403940.