FUNDING worth £26,800 has been has been awarded to a project to restore a 13th century church.

St Wilfrid’s Parish Church in South Kilvington, near Thirsk, has been awarded the grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) to carry out essential conservation work.

The Grade II-listed church was built in approximately 1270, during the reign of Henry III. There are indications an older place of worship may have stood on the site, as the remains of a Saxon cross remains in the churchyard.

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But now the 13th century structure is in need of urgent restoration work. The walls need to be stabilised to prevent any further movement, rendering needs removing and other repairs are also needed to the walls.

The funds will also enable the church to carry out educational work with South Kilvington CE School. The intention is to carry out site visits and talks by conservationists.

There are plans to make information on the ancient building’s history more widely available to the community through developing a website and leaflets for the village.

Repairs also need carrying out on the building’s bell tower and the windows. The funds will also be used to improve St Wilfrid’s loop/audio system and provide toilet facilities.

The £26,800 development funding was awarded by the HLF to progress the restoration plans; a full grant can be applied for at a later date.

The South Kilvington and District Action Group, which was set up to fight plans to create a new northern base for North Yorkshire Police in the village has also presented £462 to the church building fund.

The group has now been disbanded since the plans were withdrawn by North Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner Julia Mulligan, meaning the money it raised to fight the plans were no longer needed.

Joy Davies, a resident in the village said: “After the school it’s the only place in the village that can hold meetings if required.

“Although small by comparison to the larger town churches, the village would be the poorer for it not being there and this work will ensure that it continues for the next few hundred years.”

Fiona Spiers, Head of Heritage Lottery Fund, Yorkshire and Humber, said; “There is a place of worship in almost every ward, village and town across the Yorkshire and Humber region, providing a very powerful visual connection with our past.

“Not only will our awards secure the immediate future of these particular buildings, it will also empower congregations to adapt them, where necessary, so they can be enjoyed more widely throughout the community and in turn enable them be more sustainable for the future.”