Major restoration work begins on church

PUBLISHED: 07:57 21 October 2018

St Augustines Church in Locking has raised £150k (£40k grant) for tower restoration and bell repairwork. Campaigners outisde church where scaffolding has gone up.    


St Augustines Church in Locking has raised £150k (£40k grant) for tower restoration and bell repairwork. Campaigners outisde church where scaffolding has gone up. Picture: MARK ATHERTON


Restoration work on Locking’s church has begun following a mammoth fundraising initiative.

In April 2017 villagers began trying to raise approximately £150,000 to repair the tower of St Augustine’s Church and the bells within it.

Damp and the rotting of the bells’ beams had meant the area was no longer safe to use, with a danger the instruments could fall if pulled hard.

But a combination of hard work and generous grants means the repair programme has begun.

The Heritage Lottery Fund was asked to provide £100,000 towards the project but the congregation’s initial application was turned down. A subsequent bid for 25 per cent though was given the green light by the charitable body.

But it still left Locking villagers with more than £100,000 to raise, but they have managed the feat in less than two years.

Eddie French, who along with his wife Mary, is a churchwarden for St Augustine’s and they have thanked everyone for helping out with the cause.

He said local businesses have put out collection buckets, while a series of open garden events, coffee mornings and concerts, by groups such as the RAFA band, have helped the church towards its target.

Eddie said the primary school’s pupils have also got behind the project, by studying the church’s history.

The church’s problems with damp were well known, but it was not until a survey was carried out early last year that the issues with the bells’ beams became clear – much to the church’s surprise.

Eddie says it will be great to have the bells back in action, especially for the weddings it holds.

He said: “It would mean a lot to people.

“The number of weddings we hold are increasing and people really like to hear the bells

“I think people do miss (hearing) them.”

One of the bells has been in use since the 1380s and Eddie says it is therefore one of the oldest in the country.

Scaffolding has gone up as the rendering process begins.

Eddie said the work had not gone unnoticed by the church’s neighbours.

He joked: “More people seem to have noticed the scaffolding than ever did the church.”

If everything goes to plan, the work should be completed by Easter 2019.

More from Weston Mercury

Yesterday, 22:36

Weston’s dreams of pulling off an FA Cup shock and making the second round were dashed as Wrexham claimed a 2-0 win at the Woodspring Stadium on Sunday.

Read more
Yesterday, 18:26

There are delays on the M5 tonight (Monday) after a crash involving two cars between Clevedon and Weston-super-Mare.

Read more
Yesterday, 17:00

Plans to build a further 67 houses in a tourist village have been given the green light.

Read more
Yesterday, 16:03

Rubbish collections were delayed by ‘mindless vandals’ after a tyre-slashing rampage took place in Weston-super-Mare at the weekend.

Read more
Yesterday, 19:00

A pair of Weston sisters have raised more than £200 for charity.

Read more
Yesterday, 15:00

Two friends from school have opened up a new business in Weston-super-Mare.

Read more
Yesterday, 14:20

Villagers are concerned more than 60 trees could be cut down to build six homes in Winscombe.

Read more
Yesterday, 10:00

A fun fundraising week saw students look back over years of show business.

Read more
Yesterday, 10:00

Weston Lions Club members picked up their bin bags and litter-pickers and took to Kewstoke last week.

Read more
Yesterday, 09:29

Weston’s coastguard and RNLI crews were called, mid-way through yesterday’s (Sunday’s) remembrance service, to rescue a kite-surfer who was in trouble.

Read more

Most Read News

Read Online

Read the Weston Worle and Somerset Mercury e-edition E-edition

Local Weather

Sunshine and Showers

Sunshine and Showers

max temp: 14°C

min temp: 9°C

Useful Links

Advertise in the paper
Submit a Story
Subscribe to the paper
Send Your Letters
Order Photos
Family notices
Reader Travel

Family Notices 24

Newsletter Sign Up

Weston Mercury twice-weekly newsletter
Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Show Job Lists