This article appears in today's Leicester Mercury:
Cash grants will repair churches
Some of the county's oldest churches will share more than half a million pounds of lottery cash for urgent repairs.
The 12th Century church of St Mary de Castro, the city's parish church, will receive £187,000 to fix stonework and look at ways to mend its crumbling spire, which has been shifting slightly, causing cracks.
Deputy churchwarden Michael Hay said: "This will make a very big difference. The church's council couldn't have raised the money itself.
"The spire is 500 years old and the stone is of pretty poor quality and has been weathered badly. It hasn't been repaired for nearly 100 years."
Most of the money will fund an investigation to find the best way to fix the spire.
Once that is complete a larger, more expensive repair project will begin.
Mr Hay said: "For the main job we'll be launching a county-wide fund-raising appeal once we know the full costs. We're expecting something in the order of £500,000 but it could be more."
St Peter's in Kirby Bellars, near Melton, will get £145,000 for masonry work on the tower and spire, which are crumbling so badly the church bells have not been rung in more than a year for fear of causing more damage.
Vicar, the Rev Peter Collins said: "I want to get the tower and spire restored so the bells can ring down the Wreake valley again, so this is absolutely terrific news."
Another church benefiting from the Heritage Lottery Fund cash will be All Saints Church in Seagrave, Charnwood, which will receive £66,000 to replace copper roofing and timber.
St Martin's in Stapleton, near Hinckley, will receive £31,000 to repair the spire, St Peter's in Redmile, near Bottesford, will get £47,000 to fix the roof and St Peter's in Tilton on the Hill, near Leicester, got £59,000 for tower repairs.
The money comes from the National Lottery and is given out by English Heritage. Places of worship for all faiths and denominations can get grants of up to £250,000.
Emma Sayer, head of Heritage Lottery Fund in the East Midlands, said: "Historic places of worship are an irreplaceable part of our heritage.
"In the past 10 years, the Heritage Lottery Fund has invested £155 million into these wonderful buildings."
For more information, visit: www.english-heritage.org.uk