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Church gets £137,000 lottery boost

PUBLISHED: 15:50 26 February 2002 | UPDATED: 11:26 03 March 2010

GENERATIONS to come will be able to enjoy the sight of Wickham Market's much-loved church tower after National Lottery chiefs today announced a £137,000 grant to repair it.

GENERATIONS to come will be able to enjoy the sight of Wickham Market's much-loved church tower after National Lottery chiefs today announced a £137,000 grant to repair it.

The tower is a local landmark and can be seen clearly across the countryside from the A12 north of Woodbridge.

Worshippers at All Saints' church launched an appeal last summer after a structural survey revealed that the tower was in danger of collapsing.

It was estimated that £150,000 was needed to stabilise the tower, which dates from the 14th century and is a grade two listed building.

Major cracks had appeared above the south door and in the north wall of the octagonal tower, as well as in the ringing chamber.

Engineers who had been monitoring the situation for the past nine years reported the rate of deterioration had increased significantly over recent months and the need for repairs had become urgent.

The tower has been a witness to the Christian faith for over 600 years and church members immediately started fundraising, planning a variety of events, including opening gardens to the public, a bowls tournament, flower festival, furniture auction and a photographic competition.

They expected to take at least two years or more to raise the money but today were given a huge boost with the announcement of the £137,000 grant from the English Heritage and the Heritage Lottery Fund joint grant scheme for churches and other places of worship.

The money will pay for substantial strengthening work to safeguard the tower for the future. Work is expected to start almost immediately.

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