St Mary’s needs half a million
PUBLISHED: 10:46 23 October 2008 | UPDATED: 21:35 31 May 2010
A CAMPAIGN to raise half a million pounds to save a historic church was officially launched on Saturday. The Church of St Mary the Virgin, which has stood in the heart of Newport for almost 800 years, is in of need urgent repair. The Rev Dr Barbara Sherlo
A CAMPAIGN to raise half a million pounds to save a historic church was officially launched on Saturday.
The Church of St Mary the Virgin, which has stood in the heart of Newport for almost 800 years, is in of need urgent repair.
The Rev Dr Barbara Sherlock said: "It sounds like a scary amount that we have to raise, but it is work that needs to be done or the church will deteriorate faster. We have given ourselves two years to reach our target.
"Water is already starting to come into the chancel and cause damage. People who come to the church can see where the plaster is peeling off."
The church, which was built in the 13th century, houses a number of treasures including the Newport Chest, a portable altar from that century which is decorated with an early example of an oil painting on wood.
Rev Sherlock, who has been at the church for 11 months, said: "The launch of our campaign was a great success and we had lots of people come to the church and see for themselves the work that needs to be done.
"We've sent a leaflet to every house in Newport to make sure that everyone is aware of how urgent this appeal is."
The Grade I listed building has national as well as local importance and the entire church, including furniture, fittings and architecture, has been recorded by the National Association for Decorative and Fine Arts.
The major work needed is external repairs to the roof, repairs to the Priest's Room and Bray Library and redecoration of the damaged interior.
"We are hoping that after all the work has been completed we can open up the church so it can be better used by the community," said Rev Sherlock.
Planned fundraising events include a candlelight dinner on February 14, a teddy bear parachute event and an egg hunt at Easter, and a football competition in the summer.
Donations can be made at www.justgiving.com/stmaryschurch. For more information call Rev Sherlock on 01799 540339.
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