There have been celebrations after an appeal to raise funds to restore King Richard III’s parish church has reached the £1 million mark.
The church of St Mary and All Saints, Fotheringhay, has successfully achieved two thirds of the total amount needed to totally restore the historic building.
The church was completed in 1434, and a number of significant historical events took place in or around the church, including the execution of Mary, Queen of Scots in 1587.
A small group of villagers and local people who make up the group of Friends of Fotheringhay Church have battled doggedly for the last eighteen months to raise the huge sums required to repair the roofs of the church and carry out urgent repairs to the rest of the building.
They managed to raise the funds despite not getting grants from the National Lottery.
The Appeal for funding has benefitted from the patronage of HRH The Duke of Gloucester and from other such noteworthy speakers who have donated their services for fundraising events such as Dr David Starkey and the author Alison Weir.
Charitable donors include many trusts and grant giving bodies as well as generous individuals and members of the Richard III Society.
They were also supported by the HB Allen Trust who restore the fabric of churches.
The trust donated £700,000 towards the crucial works.
Work is due to start soon on the drainage and guttering thanks to support from Wren and Augean and the fundraising continues apace with a Village Festival planned in early July to raise the required outstanding amount to finally complete the project in 2017.
Lady Victoria Leatham, President of the Friends said she was delighted to have reached the milestone.
She added: “ With buildings of this age and complexity, timings of work are difficult to estimate successfully, but because we have had such generous support from so many people we have been able to start much sooner than originally planned.
“By breaking up the project into phases we can track the work and manage the budgets more easily, as well as importantly opening the church as usual for services on Sundays.”
For more information about the church, and the appeal visit www.friends-of-fotheringhay-church.co.uk/