'FRIENDS' are being sought to help protect the future of churches impacted by the Covid-19 lockdown.

The Yorkshire Historic Churches Trust (YHCT) has launched an appeal for new Friends to help support the many churches which have lost vital donations during lockdown.

Yorkshire is famed for its heritage, and is home to more than 2,500 places of worship.

From tiny chapels and village churches, to commanding Minsters, these magnificent and much-loved buildings define the landscape and bring together communities.

They offer congregations a welcoming, warm and friendly place to worship, host a wide range of social groups and offer facilities for local communities across the region.

However, due to the financial impact of the coronavirus shut-down, many are really struggling to meet their ongoing maintenance and repair costs.

Tom Ramsden, Chairman of the YHCT said: “Although most churches and chapels are still currently closed, keeping on top of the basic maintenance is essential to preserve the fabric of these precious buildings.

"With summer fayres, coffee mornings and community classes cancelled, new ways of raising funds need to be considered.”

Mr Ramsden added: “Now more so than over, these magnificent buildings need our support.

"You can help us achieve this task by becoming a Friend of the YHCT, helping us to ensure Yorkshire's places of worship remain standing for centuries to come.”

Thanks to the generosity of donors, many local churches have been supported by the YHCT, including St Michael and All Angels in Middleton Tyas, which has received £5,000 over the last 18 months to help with essential repairs.

Wanda and Simon Reynolds, from Bedale explain their decision to join the Trust: “We have been Friends of the YHCT since it was established in 1988 and have enjoyed taking part in many visits across the region.

"We really enjoyed the study afternoon at Everingham, visiting the parish church and private chapel, as well as a tour of the Hall, which is not usually open to the public.

"In the past we have participated in Ride and Stride, raising money for both our local church and the YHCT.

Membership is £35 per year. For details or to donate, visit .yhct.org.uk. generalenquiries@yhct.org.uk