Members of the congregation at St Andrew’s Church in Ramshill have been left reeling after the news that emergency building work on the church spire will cost in the region of £23,000.
The news comes just as the church was planning its 150th birthday celebrations.
In September this year, the church marks the 150th anniversary of the laying of its cornerstone. More events are planned, reaching a climax in July 2015 when the 150th anniversary of the church opening for worship will be celebrated.
However, the congregation has now had to turn its thoughts to fundraising after it was found that the carved pinnacles on the church spire had become unstable.
Church warden Tricia McNaughton explained: “We’re waiting for the work to go ahead, but now we have to raise the money to pay for it.
“Basically it’s the base of the pointed bit that has become unsafe.
“It’s an enormous amount of money to raise, but the work has to be done. It’s been cordoned off with fencing to keep the area safe.”
Tricia added: “When we found out, it was a huge shock. But we’ve got lots of fundraising activities in the pipeline.
“We’re looking at various ideas and Sainsbury’s have offered to put a collecting tin in their store.”
She continued: “The work must be carried out immediately for the safety of the congregation and the general public, which is why barriers are currently erected round the bottom of the tower.
“It must be emphasised that there is no present danger to passers-by.”
Tricia explained that people have been shocked by the scale of the work and the amount it will cost, but added that they are determined to raise the cash.
She said: “It must be done, so we’ve got to roll up our sleeves and get stuck in.
“Apparently we can apply for lottery funding retrospectively for building work, but that is a risk there is no guarantee we’d get it.”
The church has appointed a specialist steeplejack company from Edinburgh to carry out the work, with suitable companies who can do building work on listed churches few and far between.
The church’s spire measures 175ft to the top and is one of the highest in Scarborough.
Tricia said: “I’ve been told that when fishermen were out at sea, they’d take their bearings from the tower.”
In other news from St Andrew’s, the church has celebrated its formation forty years ago, when the congregations of two URCs came together.
The congregations of St John’s URC, Globe Street (formerly a Presbyterian Church) and South Cliff URC (formerly South Cliff Congregational Church) agreed to amalgamate because Revd. S Leon Cooke, minister at South Cliff was going to a church in Goole, so Revd. J R Thomson, formerly minister at St John’s, would take over as the minister of the newly formed St Andrew’s URC.
The 40th birthday was marked by a special service with birthday cake and refreshments in the church hall.
The church is also now hosting a weekly social afternoon on Mondays at which everyone is welcome, between 2pm and 4pm. There will be various games on offer, from short mat bowls to table tennis, from mini-snooker and air hockey to card games any many more. For those of a less sporty inclination, there is the chance to chat, have a cup of tea or coffee, bring your knitting, or sit and read papers and magazines. Entry £2, via the Albion crescent door.