An historic Grade One Listed church desperately needs more than £200,000 of major repair work, it has been revealed.
St Peter and Paul Church in Caistor has applied to the Heritage Lottery Fund for a £200,000 grant to sort out structural problems with its slate covering and supporting timbers and old copper covering of its tower roof.
Reverend Ian Robinson said: “Our situation is that we had a leaky roof.
“When we investigated we discovered that the slates have failed and water has been seeping into the wooden roof supports of the main nave roof which have rotted.
“We need to replace the supports and many of the slates on the nave roof and replace the copper covering of the tower roof which is at the end of its life.”
The church, which is widely used and is a popular tourist attraction, also has an old and inefficient heating system, which needs replacing.
And funding is needed for plans to develop the church’s educational and tourism work.
Rev Robinson said: “Our application involves not only structural repairs but also improving the ‘visitor experience’ to the church.
“This will include an enhanced website, improved guide books, training of tour guides, an audio post, conservation and better presentation of the ‘Gad Whip’, and better facilities for schools use [and] Wifi.”
The church wants to provide more information and training to groups such as Caistor Civic Society, who show people around the building.
And there are plans to develop the story of the Caistor Gad Whip with better information and display panels.
So far, the church has secured about £8,000 in grant funding, from various organisations.
The church will find out in June whether or not the £200,000 Heritage Lottery Fund application has been successful.
If it has, the church will have up to one year to develop the project by drawing up plans and securing contractors.
Once that is done it will then be given the go-ahead to deliver the project.
A project group will be formed to manage the work and there will be numerous fundraising events - including a parish garden party at the Old Vicarage on June 25 and a concert by the Grimsby Bach Choir in the church on July 2.
And the project has the backing of Caistor Town Council, which has sent a letter of support to the Heritage Lottery Fund, outlining the importance of the building to the community in Caistor.
Rev Robinson said: “As tourism was part of the Caistor Town Plan, we feel that this aspect of the project fits in well with the thinking of the town council.”
In a letter to the town council, asking for its support, Rev Robinson said: “St. Peter and Paul Church has been a feature of Caistor life for almost a thousand years.
“It is used, not only by the regular worshipping congregation, but is a venue for weddings, funerals and civic events etc. It is used by our schools on a weekly basis and is a venue for concerts and exhibitions.”
He added: “And [it] is an attraction for tourists having featured in Pevsner (the ‘bible’ for those interested in architecture) and in Simon Jenkins’ ‘England’s 1000 Best Churches’.”