Church gets £143k boost

Rev Canon Angela Dick with Mary Clegg, Susan Newbould, Bob Newbould, Richard Myers and Joan Lightowler at Christ Church, Sowerby Bridge.
Rev Canon Angela Dick with Mary Clegg, Susan Newbould, Bob Newbould, Richard Myers and Joan Lightowler at Christ Church, Sowerby Bridge.

A prominent Sowerby Bridge church has been given a further £143,000 to complete the final phase of repairs.

Christ Church has received the cash from the Heritage Lottery Fund to repair and refurbish the clock tower.

The grade two listed building faced closure in 2004 after a report revealed the extent of the repairs needed and the huge financial input required.

The church members were unable to fund the repairs themselves and feared closure of the church before the Heritage Lottery Fund stepped in.

The latest grant takes the total amount received by the church for repairs since 2006 to £608,000.

In 2006 church members raised almost £200,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund, English Heritage and other sources to enable repairs to be carried out to the roofs and walls.

The following year they raised £65,000 to repair the stained glass windows, and in 2008 they raised a further £200,000 for more repairs to the roof coverings.

Canon Angela Dick, who has been in her post since 2010, said she was glad the church could continue to improve.

“We are very pleased to receive this further grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund which will enable us to complete the fourth and final phase of the comprehensive repair of the building,” she said.

“Over the past six years members of the church have worked very hard to raise funds for such a major programme of repairs and it is a reflection of their industry and commitment to the church that we are now able to undertake the final phase of works.”

“We are grateful for the on-going support of the Heritage Lottery Fund,” she added.

The work, which will involve the tower being re-roofed, is expected to begin some time next year.

Once the fourth phase of the repair work is complete, church members will look in to improving disabled access.

“We’ll just focus on this work first before we get ahead of ourselves,” said Rev Dick.

“But the disabled access at our church is a problem and we’ll be looking into that in the future.

Christ Church was built in 1821 to the designs of the Halifax architect John Oates and replaced the former Brigg Chapel which dated from 1526.

Just eight years later in 1829, major defects became evident in the roof which required costly repairs, and in 1894 a fire broke out in the organ chamber, which, as well as destroying the roof, also killed a fireman.