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Tower Restoration at Woodditton Church

If you have been anywhere near St Mary's Church, Woodditton, near Newmarket, recently, you will have seen that the tower is wreathed in scaffolding. This will be in place until the end of June whilst extensive repair work is done to the masonry rendering and flintwork. LLM and PCC Treasurer Tony White tells us more about the work, and the funding the PCC were able to obtain to allow repairs to go ahead.

The work is now over 75% complete, and the congregation are hopeful that the scaffolding will also be removed by July. Unfortunately bell-ringing activities had to be suspended whilst the stone repairs are being undertaken, but it shouldn’t be too long before they can be rung again - hopefully they will have the all clear to ring a celebratory peal of bells on 1 July during the annual Church Fete.

The work is being carried out by Lodge and Sons (Builders) Ltd who have extensive experience of restoring historic buildings alongside their perhaps better-known roofing business, and supervised by church architect Stephanie Norris.  

The restoration work is costing in the region of £100,000 + VAT. It has been funded in part by the sale of a small parcel of land owned by the PCC, together with generous donations from the community and church members. Two grants have so far been received: £8,000 from the Garfield Weston Foundation and £5,000 from Cambridge Historic Churches Trust (CHCT), together with an interest-free loan of £20,000 for four years.

In order to avoid encumbering the PCC with debt, St Mary's are using the interest free loan from the CHCT to pay the VAT, set to be reclaimed in full from the Listed Places of Worship Grant Scheme, which reimburses the VAT to qualifying churches.

Generous donations have also been received from members of the church and the local community, for all of which they are immensely grateful. A couple of grant applications are still pending, but we are confident of having suffient funding to complete the work on time and on budget.  

The Cambridge Historic Churches Trust (CHCT) application process is on-line, with the added considerable advantage of having a real person to talk to! Graham Pledger is the current grants secretary, and could not have been more helpful. CHCT also tell you if your application is successful or not, a common courtesy that surprisingly, not all schemes do.

Photographs from a recent site inspection showcases the excellent progress being made and the beautiful new stonework.

Page last updated: Wednesday 14th June 2023 6:41 AM
First published on: 7th June 2023
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