A GRADE I listed church dating back to the 12th century is set to be restored to its former glory after receiving the support it needed from the National Lottery Heritage Fund.
After more than four years of hard fund-raising by The Friends of St Michael and All Angels Church in Stoke Prior Bromsgrove raised more than £166,000 which qualified the project for the £330,000 grant from the NLHF.
Campaigners found out this week the drive had made the grade and now the biggest restoration since Victorian times is able to get under way.
Tower masonry which became detached in the autumn of 2014 will be repaired, other essential maintenance will be carried out and access to the church will be improved to bring it in line with the Equalities Act.
Rev Canon Wyn Beynon, since being appointed as Priest in Charge, has repeatedly everyone should be able to access the church unaided.
During the project history talks will be given by the Rev Beynon and Friends of the Church.
The building has links to Salt King John Corbett, who had it renovated in the 19th century, and a varied and interesting history which will all be detailed in two new guide books.
One of the texts will be aimed at younger visitors and an educational programme is planned to give volunteers new skills on how to look after an historic building.
In partnership with the parish council a noticeboard and interpretation panel will be installed in the conservation area of the Churchyard, showing the abundance of wildlife there is and the variety of trees it boasts.
The church has become a focal point for the local community thanks to the Friends group and its multitude of fund-raising activities.
More are already being planned for the remainder of 2020 and 2021.
Rev Beynon said everyone was delighted with the NLHF support.
“Thank you to everyone who has helped us on our journey and for your continued support.
“We will with this help be able to look forward to seeing St Michael and All Angels removed from the Heritage at Risk Register thanks to money raised by National Lottery players.”
Anne Jenkins, Director, England, Midlands and East at The National Lottery Heritage Fund, added: “Thanks to National Lottery Players, we are delighted to award St Michael and All Angels with a grant that not only carries out urgent repairs, but will ensure it is preserved for the community to years to come, with work hopefully leading to the church no longer being listed as Heritage at Risk.
“By improving accessibility for the church as well as creating resources aimed at new audiences we hope that the St Michael and All Angels will see many new visitors walk through its doors.
“We have been very proud to invest in Worcestershire’s heritage over the years in order for it to be showcased far and wide.”
At the top of this article we have put together a slideshow reminder of the many fund-raising activities organised as part of the four-year campaign.