Lottery steps in to save church spire damaged by woodpeckers

8:00am Tuesday 13th August 2013

By Emily Hodgkin

A church has been awarded a Lottery grant after hungry woodpeckers damaged its spire.

The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), is providing £12,400 to fund the planning process for the renovation of the spire of St Mary’s Church, a 150-year old parish church in Headley, near Epsom.

A routine inspection two years ago found that the spire was riddled with holes in its cedar shingles caused by the birds drilling down in search of insects in the wood.

Provided the planning process goes well, the church will receive a total of £89,000 from HLF towards the total repair cost which is likely to top £100,000.

Rev Linda Harknett said: "We have also raised £21,000 from our 150-year anniversary celebrations and other donations, which will go towards the repairs.

"We didn't know about the woodpeckers until the inspector pointed them out. The Guildford diocese inspects the churches every five years and during his 2011 inspection he actually saw a woodpecker, pecking away the the spire.

"We think the damaged has been mostly caused by green woodpeckers.

The award is part of more than £12m of Lottery money being announced by HLF to enable urgent repairs to places of worship around the country.




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