Watertight and warm - a Ribchester church’s new lease of life

Ribchester St Wilfrid's Church, soon to be officially handed back to parishioners following  the roof repairs.
Ribchester St Wilfrid's Church, soon to be officially handed back to parishioners following the roof repairs.

A now watertight and warm 800-year-old village church is soon to be officially handed back to parishioners after major roof work.

The grade one listed St Wilfrid’s Church at Ribchester has undergone £237,000 worth of repairs and improvements in recent months including the complete re-slating of the main roof with new ridge tiles, all specially cut from local stone.

The church’s famous dormer windows have been a completely replaced using some of the old, unique glass; most of the gutters and down spouts have been replaced; painting has been carried out, there has been some pointing where required and a much needed new new boiler has been installed.

“We should now end up with a church that is both dry and warm,” said Alan Tomlinson, a member of the church’s ‘Raise the Roof’ appeal committee, who says although the congregation has still been able to meet in church throughout the works with servivces held in the chancel, they are all now looking forward to the offical handover date of October 20.

The appeal was launched early this year with the knowledge that while the church was set to receive an £87,000 grant from the Government’s Roof Repair Fund and there was also cash from the church’s own reserves to cover the cost, parishioners would still have to raise a further £35,000.

A small fund raising committee was formed and they are half way there, having held events including an auction of promises, wine tasting, open garden and apple picking, beetle drive, concert and organ recital, with more to come including a Renaissance concert this Saturday, an exhibition of Old Ribchester on October 21 and 22 at the village hall, a concert by the church’s own choir Musicmakers, another wine tasting and a dance at the village hall.

“It has been fantastic. All the events have been really enjoyable and everybody has had a great time raising the money and we are extremely grateful to everyone who has taken part and contributed, said Alan.