Lyme Regis Restoration Update

ST. MICHAEL & ST. GEORGE RC CHURCH – RE-OPENING ADDRESS

BY FR. ANTHONY

I was delighted to celebrate the first Mass on Thursday 10th June following the restoration work to the exterior of the Church and the wonderful redecoration and rewiring of the interior. It is almost exactly four years since the Parish commissioned a survey aimed at seeking grants to help towards the costs of the work. Now at last we can give thanks that its peaceful beauty and stability will be enjoyed by many generations yet to come.

Two days later, on 12 June the marriage of Rosie Mostyn to Jamie Forlan took place in the Church.  Rosie is the daughter of Philip & Helen Mostyn and granddaughter of General Sir David Mostyn who oversaw the previous major restoration work to the Church over 30 years ago.

There have been so many people involved in the work of bringing this wonderful church back to its former glory that it is just not possible to mention them all. Everyone has helped financially as much as they have been able. Many have worked away quietly in the background and everyone has shown patience, understanding and the endurance of the loss of their beloved place of worship for so many months. My grateful thanks go to all of them.  However, I should like to mention the names of a few people who have been especially generous with their time and their talents.

RICHARD SALT – Who has been involved in seeking grants, obtaining necessary consents, liaising with contractors and professional advisers, and generally supervising the overall timetable of the works.  Richard has devoted hours of his life to the management of this project and the thanks which we owe him is enormous. Without him we would have sometimes struggled to continue. His quiet optimism, good humour and deep common sense have truly been gifts to us all.

CLAIRE PETERS – Our parish secretary who has borne the brunt of correspondence with contractors, grant making bodies, the Diocese and all other individuals and organisations involved.  An immense amount of work.

PETER PORTEOUS – Who in his capacity as Treasurer, helped set up financial records and systems both within the Parish and with the Diocese to keep track of the very involved financial transactions.  His role has also included the setting up of the parish website with the publication of regular updates as the works progressed.

JANE GODFREY – Who, along with the other members of the Parish Finance Group, supported and promoted the works. Her sensible and considered advice was always an inspiration.

PHILIP MOSTYN – Acted as back up to Richard in the overall repair programme, taking on the responsibility of supervising the choice of colours for the exterior and the redecoration of the interior. He personally painted the highlights on the ceiling bosses, enlisting the help of his wife Helen and his daughters to spend hours polishing the brass aisle lights and the Sanctuary lamp.

JULIE DUNNON – Helped arrange the publication of reports in the local newspapers on the progress of the restoration, keeping the local population aware of what was happening.

KATE WOOTTON, LAURA SALT AND GAYNOR DAVIES -Formed a formidable team, spending many hours cleaning, dusting and generally rendering the Church spick and span for use.

MANY OTHERS – There are many others, both parishioners and friends who have helped in numerous ways, including cleaning, moving pews, chairs and other church items, gardeners, fundraisers, committee and sub-committee members, and event organisers.  To these I would add BISHOP CHRISTOPHER who not only put up with the noise and disruption for some six months but also acted as a night watchman over the site!

All of these people I should like to thank on behalf of the Parish and the Diocese but I want especially to extend thanks to so many of you who contributed financially through donations, pledges or other gifts to the completion of the works.  I know that you have been pestered unremittingly for a long period of time, but you have responded with utmost generosity, and without you this could not have happened.

I also want to take this opportunity to express our appreciation to the professionals involved:-

PHILIP HUGHES & ASSOCIATES – Our professional advisers, particularly Sam Wheeler who spent many hours advising us and supervising the work by the contractors, ensuring that the work was carried out within budget.

FERGUS BROTHERTON – Secretary to the Historic Churches Committee for his advice and work in relation to the granting of a Faculty to carry out the works

DAEDALUS CONSERVATION – the main contractor responsible for all the work to the exterior of the Church and they have done a magnificent job with care and consideration. I should like mention in particular IAN GANGADEEN, the site foreman for his expertise in ensuring a tidy site, efficient continuance of the work over the cold winter, the absence of loud music and his dealings with myself, Richard, Philip & others.

ANDY CROSSLEY – who carried out the redecoration and repairs to the interior and has done a wonderful job

VINCE RATTENBURY – Our electrician who completely rewired the Church including new lights to highlight the features of the Church.

All this would not have been possible without the financial assistance that we received from charitable and other grant making bodies and therefore I should like to extend our appreciation to: –

HISTORIC ENGLAND CULTURE RECOVERY FUND – which advanced a total of £182,268 towards the exterior restoration costs.  Here I should like to acknowledge the assistance given by JOSEPHINE WARREN and her team who were responsible for advising and administering the grant on behalf of H.E.

DORSET HISTORIC CHURCHES TRUST – which donated £10,000 towards the exterior works

LYME REGIS TOWN COUNCIL – which generously gave £1,000 towards the roof & stonework repairs and a further £1,000 for the interior works.

ALLCHURCHES TRUST LTD – whose Trustees gave us £4,500 for the interior works

CHARLOTTE MARSHALL CHARITABLE TRUST – which kindly gave £1,038.56 for the exterior works and a further £500 towards the interior redecoration.

AXE VALE FESTIVAL LTD – A gift of £500 towards the entrance area, pamphlets and noticeboards.

The overall costs came to slightly over £250,000 of which we received £200,806 in grants leaving a balance of around £50,000 which was funded through donations amounting to £30,000 and Parish Investments of £20,000.

However, there is still some essential works to do, funded with the balance of monies drawn from the Parish investments:-

  1. Repairs to and rehanging the main door – £2,500
  2. Providing a new frame to the long window in the Eastern elevation of the Bell Tower – £4,500 including scaffolding
  3. Repairs to the leaded windows on the Northern side of the aisle £15,000 including scaffolding.

Hopefully, we shall be able to address the first two works in the Autumn and the leaded windows next year.

Fr. Anthony Cockram, Parish Priest 21st June 2021