Dec 12 2013 by Sophie McCoid, Ormskirk Advertiser
A 14th CENTURY church has been forced to close after its spire was deemed unsafe following damage by high winds .
St Cuthbert’s in Halsall stands at 126ft tall and is a Grade I listed building, meaning it is a building of exceptional interest.
It was during some general maintenance work that the damage was spotted.
The weathervane on the spire was moving erratically and there was evidence of brick movement on and around the spire, leaving the church and churchyard no option but to close.
While the Anglican church has been shut the Halsall, St Cuthbert’s Church of England Primary School has been hosting services.
Mr Scholes Headteacher of St Cuthbert’s said: “We’ve been more than happy to help out the church in its hour of need by holding services at the school while the building is still deemed unsafe.
“The church is a big part of the community and we all hope that the £25,000 can be found to help repair the damage done by the weather.
“Our PTFA has made a contribution to the fund and we are looking at other ways to raise some money for the appeal in the next couple of months, I’d encourage people to give to the appeal if they can, this historic church cannot be lost, it must be restored.”
The spire has been need of restoration for some time but the recent weather conditions have made the situation critical and church leaders and members of the congregation are working hard to try and get the church open for the vital Christmas services.
Colin Throp, member of the Parochial Church Council said: “It was with great regret that we closed the church but we were left with no other choice.
“The response from the community has been amazing so far – we’ve made around £5,000 in just ten days which is brilliant – I just hope it continues as the church is an amazing building that is at the heart of the community.
“We’ve been in talks with a company from Manchester who think they can construct some scaffolding to secure the spire in time for our popular Christmas services.
“Our aim is to be open for Christmas, we’ve got a carol service, a Christingle service and lots of services around Christmas day that we need to be open for, it would be such a disappointment to the community if we weren’t.
“After Christmas we hope to continue our fundraising efforts, we’re planning social events such as a ladies evening and we’re planning to submit a grant application to the heritage lottery fund but this will all take time, we’ve made a brilliant start but there’s still a long way to go.”
The church is of great importance to the community as lots of local families have their ancestors buried in the churchyard, the churchyard also contains the war graves of four soldiers of World War I, and two of World War II.
l Donations can be made via a cheque made payable to St Cuthbert’s of Halsall PCC via the Rector Paul Robinson.