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State funds repairs for flood-hit churches

14 March 2014

by a staff reporter


Awash: the village of Moorland, in the Somerset Levels, in mid- February 

Awash: the village of Moorland, in the Somerset Levels, in mid- February 

HISTORIC churches that suffered flooding and storm damage are to receive government help to pay for their repairs.

The money will be given directly to the Churches Conservation Trust (CCT), which looks after the churches. The trust estimates that the repair bill will reach £100,000.

Among the churches affected is St George's, on the Isle of Portland, which was badly hit by the storms, and had rainwater pouring in through the gallery and windows. A CCT volunteer at St George's, Patricia Williams, said: "The recent weather has caused untold damage around the country. I was concerned to see the water ingress and storm damage at St George's, as I know that the trust would have difficulty in funding the repairs. It is a relief to hear that this grant has been offered, so that this wonderful church won't suffer any more damage." Further into west Dorset, All Saints', in Nether Cerne, flooded when river levels rose near by.

The grant money will be spread across 11 churches in the West Country, but will stretch, too, to Norfolk and Lincolnshire. The repair work should be complete by the end of the month.

The chief executive of the CCT, Crispin Truman, said: "Inevitably, the recent extreme weather has hit a number of our historic churches around the country, with issues from serious flooding and water ingress to wind damage causing holes to appear in church roofs.

"As a charity, these unexpected urgent repairs create a financial burden; so we are extremely grateful to be receiving emergency funding from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport in order to help us repair the damage quickly."

The Tourism Minister, Helen Grant, said: "Our historic churches play an important part in local tourism throughout the country, attracting two million visitors a year. This money will help those churches of great heritage value that have been hit hard by the extreme weather and require urgent repair-work to protect them from further damage so they can be enjoyed by future generations."

The Government has also announced that councils are to get funding of £140 million to repair roads damaged by flooding.

In one of the areas worst hit by the floods, the Somerset Levels, the clean-up has only now begun, as evacuated residents are finally able to return.

Disinterred.  Cliff erosion caused by the storms has uncovered the bones of a Cistercian monk in Monknash, Wales, the site of a medieval burial ground. The thigh bones were spotted poking out of the cliff face by a walker. The area was home to a community of Cistercian monks from 1129 until the Dissolution of the Monasteries in 1535.

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