Work begins to repair roof at Needham Market church
Work to replace the roof of a historic Grade I-listed church in Suffolk has begun after a fundraising campaign of more than two years reached its goal.
The Church of St John the Baptist in Needham Market raised money in the community, received donations and was also awarded a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) to achieve its funding target for restoration work.
The church received £227,800 from the HLF to reach its £377,000 goal to fund the project to repair the building’s unique oak single hammerbeam roof – which has been damaged by infestation, rotting wood and water ingress.
The improvement work will also allow the number and range of church events to be expanded, including concerts, stage presentations and question time events.
The building’s value as an educational resource will also be developed, with opportunities for more school visits and full day projects, in addition to using the church as a drop-in centre for advice on social issues.
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The repairs will take around six months to complete and it is hoped that the work will be completed by the end of August.
Sunday church services will be transferred to the church hall and the Limes Hotel in the town on an alternate weekly basis while the work is carried out.
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The Parochial Church Council (PCC) is responsible for the repair and maintenance of the church, and a small sub-committee, along with the church, launched the fundraising campaign to repair the roof in 2015.
Ray Levett, PCC member and fundraiser, praised the support the project had received from the community.
He said: “The essence of the project is to carry out essential roof repairs to protect the oak hammerbeam roof.
“Our contractors, Lodge and Sons of Dunmow in Essex, started on January 8 and will be on site for six months.
“The overall cost of the project is £377,000 and the HLF have granted us £227,800 towards the project with other local and national funders contributing towards the cost.
“We are very grateful to them all as well as to the support of the local community, without their support we would not be able to protect this nationally important church.”
Celebration events to mark the completion of the repair work are being planned for September 7-9.