A group of 24 students have been helping to carry out painstaking conservation work at St Mary’s Church in Lydiard Tregoze.
The youngsters, drawn from as far afield as Italy, the United States, Spain and Switzerland have been working under the watchful eye of conservator Dr Jane Rutherfoord and fellow expert Eddie Sinclair to preserve historically significant features of the church.
The project, to restore medieval wall paintings, 17th Century monuments, carved woodwork and a painted ceiling have been funded by a £615,000 Heritage Lottery Fund grant - towards a £901,605 delivery phase.
The funding will also enable the church to carry out environmental and access improvements as well as the delivery of a specialist training programme, volunteering and community engagement activities.
The internal conservation work is anticipated to be completed by the end of September 2019 and from October the conserved wall paintings and the South porch will be on view to the public.
Bishop of Swindon Rt. Reverend Dr Lee Rayfield said: “The National Lottery receives many deserving applications so it is particularly heartening that Swindon has once again been supported by the award of a major grant. St.Mary’s remains a national treasure and enabling us to preserve and restore its unique features continues to benefit local people as well as enriching our country’s heritage.”
Project Chair Paul Gardner said: “It is wonderful news and we are immensely grateful to the National Lottery and very excited about taking our plans forward, especially working with the many organizations from across the town – The Friends of Lydiard Park, schools ,Swindon Art College, The Arts Society , Swindon Festival of Literature, Prime Theatre and many more – that have enthusiastically supported the project and pledged their support and involvement.
“We have virtually raised the match funded of £304,600 needed for this stage of the project following receipt of substantial individual donations as well as grants from a range of charities and other organisations including The Friends of Lydiard Park, Garfield Weston Foundation, West Swindon & Lydiard Tregoze Church Partnership, All Churches Trust, The Pilgrim Trust, St Andrews Conservation Trust, The Leche Trust , Wiltshire Historic Churches Trust ,The Alan Evans Memorial Trust, William & Jane Morris Fund, Idlewild Trust and continued public fund raising .I wish to thank the National Lottery whole heartedly for making this crucial award. There is now only £12,000 to be raised.