A church that has become synonymous with Darlington's heritage is in a last-ditch attempt to remove itself from the 'heritage at risk' register.

St Cuthbert's Church has sat in the heart of Darlington for over 800 years. but the current roof covering has reached the end of its life, and the National Churches Trust has said that without urgent action, the church will fall into disrepair. 

In the absence of rapid repair work, the town will not only lose a landmark, but plans to make it into an events venue and community hub, will be forced to be delayed.

The Northern Echo: St Cuthbert's Church clock, Darlington.

Issues have arisen because the lead roof on the North Aisle is failing, and water is now penetrating the church.

During periods of heavy rainfall – which the region has recently seen many of – the area around the electrical distribution unit for the church is becoming wet, which church officials say is a "huge danger".

A spokesperson from The National Churches Trust said: "The fabric of this beautiful 12th century Grade I Listed church is put at risk every time it rains.

"Failure to repair the roof will lead to further structural damage, as the roof continues to wear away. For as long as the roof issue remains, the church will sadly remain on Historic England’s Heritage at Risk Register."

However, the charity has supplied the much-loved church with a £20,000 urgent funding payout, with an additional £10,000 fabric repair grant from the Wolfson Foundation, on the recommendation of the National Churches Trust.

Paul Gilmore, from St. Cuthbert’s Parochial Church Council, said: “This is wonderful news! Along with grants of £5,000 each from the Northumbria Historic Churches and the John Priestman Trusts, as well as £4,000 from the Diocese of Durham, this helps us secure the future of this beautiful and much-loved building.”

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“St. Cuthbert’s has ambitious plans to open every day, expanding our activities and the way we serve the town of Darlington. These grants will ensure the safety of the church and begin to make our ambitions possible.”

Once the church roof is secure and watertight, the church will be able to put its exciting plans into action to reorder the church to make it an accessible venue for everyone – churchgoers, visitors, people in need in the town and music and art lovers alike. This will include installing a café and toilets.

Claire Walker, Chief Executive of the National Churches Trust, said: "The National Churches Trust is excited to be able to support St Cuthbert’s church to enable them to carry out urgent roof repairs to their building. Not only will this protect this important heritage, but it will help to keep the church building open and serving local people.”