A £3 million campaign is being launched to help restore and safeguard the historic ‘county church of Warwickshire’ for the next millennium.
The major fundraising drive for St Mary’s Church in Warwick, which dates back to 1123, focuses on the £2 million cost of urgent repairs to its landmark tower to avoid its closure.
The rest of the funds are needed to ensure the fabric, music and ministry of the medieval church for the 21st century.
Campaign 2023 aims to secure the majority of the fundraising by 2023 to coincide with the 900th anniversary of the church.
It is being launched ahead of scaffolding being installed ready for restoration work to begin in the New Year on the tower’s crumbling stonework, which is expected to take two years to complete.
The tower, destroyed with the church in the Great Fire of Warwick in 1694 and rebuilt by 1704, is over 155ft high and visible from miles around making it a focal point for the town as well as offering spectacular views of the surrounding county.
Vaughan Roberts, Vicar of St Mary’s and Team Rector of Warwick, said: “For more than 900 years, St Mary’s has served the town, the county and the diocese on many levels, and due to its incredible history and architecture, is a monument of local, national and international significance, attracting visitors from all over the world.
“As stewards of the building, we want to ensure its legacy for the next generation and beyond and so are launching Campaign 2023 to raise the £3 million needed to safeguard its future which will commence with the urgent restoration of the tower.
“Major trusts and foundations are being approached for support and we will also be seeking additional donations through a host of fundraising activities.
"It is a huge undertaking which we hope to achieve through the generosity of those many people near and far who value St Mary’s.”
St Mary’s is one of the largest churches in Britain and known as Warwick’s ‘church of treasures’ for its history and architecture, including The Beauchamp Chapel, attracting tens of thousands of worshippers and visitors from all over the world each year.
The busy parish church, which stands in Old Square, has strong links through history with Warwick Castle and The Lord Leycester Hospital. It hosts civic services for the county and is renowned for its music.
Rev Roberts added: “Campaign 2023 will ensure we can safeguard St Mary’s for the next 900 years, and meet the needs of worshippers and visitors for the next millennium.”
To find out more or to make a donation online, go to: www.stmaryscampaign2023.org.uk