Funding boost to preserve church

Ken Wilson and Matt Boyle celebrate the National Lottery funding for St Robert's Church in Morpeth.'Picture by Jane Coltman
Ken Wilson and Matt Boyle celebrate the National Lottery funding for St Robert's Church in Morpeth.'Picture by Jane Coltman
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A 19th-century church, which is a focal point in the centre of Morpeth, is to undergo major external repairs after being awarded a cash boost.

St Robert of Newminster Roman Catholic Church has received initial support of up to £22,300 from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) for the refurbishment.

The project will involve a range of external repairs which, in turn, will help to protect the hidden heritage within the church and increase the ways people can share the heritage.

Proposals are being worked on to replace damaged slate-roof coverings, repair and re-point stonework, overhaul drainage systems, renew lightning conductors, create new interpretation materials and deliver a programme of activities that will interest and engage the community.

Ken Wilson, parishioner and chairman of the St Robert’s Project Team, said: “We’re delighted that the Heritage Lottery Fund has given us this support.

“St Robert’s has not only provided a place of worship, but a focal point for the community since 1850 and it’s great to know that we are a step closer to preserving it and the heritage within it for another century.”

The church is a grade II-listed Roman Catholic church featuring high-quality Gothic stone architecture in the Early English style and incorporating lancets with stained glass by William Wailes.

The church will host a heritage day from 1pm to 4pm today where people will be able to learn more about the recent repairs made to the church spire, which were completed last month.

The neighbouring Collingwood House will also be open this afternoon.