A MULTI-MILLION campaign is being launched to restore and safeguard St Mary’s Collegiate Church in Warwick for the next millennium.
The fund-raising drive for the historic church – which dates back to 1123 – focuses on the £2million cost of urgent repairs to its landmark tower to prevent its closure.
The rest of the funds are needed to ensure the fabric, music and ministry of the medieval church for the 21st century.
Campaign 2023 aims to secure the majority of the fundraising by 2023 to coincide with the 900th anniversary of the church – which is known as the ‘county church of Warwickshire’.
It is being launched ahead of restoration work on the tower’s crumbling stonework which is set to begin in the New Year and is expected to take two years to complete.
The tower was destroyed with the church in the Great Fire of Warwick in 1694 and rebuilt by 1704. It is over 155ft high and visible from miles around.
Vicar of St Mary’s and team rector of Warwick Vaughan Roberts said: “For more than 900 years St Mary’s has served the town, the county and the diocese on many levels, and due to its incredible history and architecture, is a monument of local, national and international significance, attracting visitors from all over the world.
“As stewards of the building, we want to ensure its legacy for the next generation and beyond and so are launching Campaign 2023 to raise the £3million needed to safeguard its future which will commence with the urgent restoration of the tower.
“Major trusts and foundations are being approached for support and we will also be seeking additional donations through a host of fundraising activities. It is a huge undertaking which we hope to achieve through the generosity of those many people near and far who value St Mary’s.”
St Mary’s is one of the largest churches in Britain and known as Warwick’s ‘church of treasures’ for its history and architecture, including The Beauchamp Chapel, which attracts tens of thousands of worshippers and visitors from all over the world each year.
The vicar added: “Campaign 2023 will ensure we can safeguard St Mary’s for the next 900 years, and meet the needs of worshippers and visitors for the next millennium.”
Visit www.stmaryscampaign2023.org.uk to donate or find out more.