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Lottery grant boosts St Mary’s restoration work

National Lottery funding of £38,600 has been awarded to St. Mary’s Church, Beverley, to help a £5 million restoration project to progress.

The money has been given to help the church to draw up detailed plans for a major grant bid of £421,000, out of an expected total cost of £771,000, towards its Medieval Curious Carvings Project. The project aims to repair and conserve a vulnerable area of the church in which a number of  “curious carvings” are housed within the ceiling.  Dating from the 14th century, they are said to be “unique”.

The project aims to carry out essential conservation work to repair the stonework and prevent water damage to the ceilings, digitally record the extraordinary carved bosses and develop a wide range of creative activities and events allowing on-line public access to the collection for the first time.

An educational programme is also planned for adults and children which it’s hoped will start to roll out in 2019. Volunteers will be given training so they can learn new skills, support the activities and help visitors engage with the church’s wonderful art and history.

St Mary’s is widely regarded as a national treasure of architecture and heritage and is home to Lewis Carol’s White Rabbit as well as having extraordinary carved and painted ceilings. It is also the focal point of much community activity in Beverley and attracts tens of thousands of visitors from all over the world every year.

Ultimately, St Mary’s needs to raise £5.6 million in total to cover the cost of all urgent repairs.

The Rev Becky Lumley, of St Mary’s, said: “This initial funding award is one small step towards making the building secure. It’s a significant step but there’s still a mountain to climb.

“We are thrilled to have received this support from National Lottery players, and are confident that as the project begins people will be delighted to see urgent repairs on the building take place.

“We are looking forward to developing our educational opportunities and our very valuable volunteering opportunities during this project. St Mary’s still needs to raise significant sums of money to repair crumbling stonework… but, thanks to the Heritage Lottery Fund, this will hopefully be just the beginning.”