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‘Operation Pigeon' Receives Lottery Support

Thanks to players of the National Lottery, urgent monitoring and maintenance works can continue at St Andrew’s Church in Soham. 

The project, nicknamed ‘Operation Pigeon’, focuses on work to keep the gutters clear from debris mainly attributed to pigeons.  Roll back the clock a couple of years and the gutters were doing little to keep the church building dry, instead they were providing penthouse apartments for a whole host of pigeons. And who could blame them for taking up residence here; the Grade I listed church set in a wide green churchyard, stands in the heart of this busy, welcoming town.

A grant from the National Lottery Heritage Fund (NLHF) in 2018, made it possible to clear the gutters and install measures to encourage the pigeons to find new accommodation. 

The project also included heritage and community activities, which celebrated the buildings rich history.  It was all going so well until Covid-19 hit and the ongoing gutter work was put at risk.  Like so many churches and charities, the PCC at Soham was faced with the loss of key fundraising activities and furloughed contractors.  Fortunately, the National Lottery’s Heritage Emergency Fund came just in the nick of time. 

Open to previous NLHF grantees like St Andrew’s, the PCC have been awarded £4,500 to continue the essential monitoring and maintenance.

With ‘Operation Pigeon’ back underway, the team can now return their attention to the other urgent repairs needed to remove the building from the Heritage at Risk register.  But with total costs exceeding £3 million, that’s an ‘operation’ of a very different kind.

To find out more about the church, the projects and the pigeons visit:

The deadline for the National Lottery’s Heritage Emergency Fund has been extended until the 31st July.  For full details visit:

Page last updated: Wednesday 8th July 2020 12:05 PM
First published on: 8th July 2020
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