‘Pleasure and relief’ as collapsed church received £200,000 funding to rebuild

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St John the Baptist, High Toynton, when it collapsed in 2020.

On Sunday January 19, 2020, the tower of the Saint-Jean-Baptiste church collapsed. Luckily no one was hurt and the rest of the building remained standing, but soon after the Covid-19 pandemic hit and the church board was left with the challenge of starting their renovation project. reconstruction in containment.

A call was made, initially, to make the building secure, which involved the building being ‘scaffolded’ externally and internally, sealed and the site secured with a 10ft high palisade all around .

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It had cost the village over £31,000, but was raised in two months thanks to generous donations from local people and funds lent by villagers.

St John the Baptist, High Toynton, when the tower collapsed in 2020.

But on Monday it was confirmed that £200,000 of National Lottery funding had been secured for the project, with work due to start in just weeks.

Alison Bell, secretary of the Parochial Church Council, said: “We are all really delighted that the funding has been secured.

The first job is to establish why the tower collapsed in the first place, and architects, conservation experts and structural engineers are due to begin work in the coming weeks.

“We also need to make sure the stone is what we need as there are Norman stones included in the arch masonry of the porches.”

The church has been buttressed twice over the years – which is the process of reinforcing the foundations of an existing building or other structure – the first of which was done in 1989, but it was redone in 1991 to deepen the foundations, which was ultimately not enough to hold the building in place.

But never in a million years, Alison said, did they expect the church steeple to collapse:

“When it fell, it was completely out of the blue! Getting up in the morning and seeing the church without its spire was a complete shock!”

An online crowdfunding campaign was set up by Rob Tomkinson when the tower collapsed, and he said the council and village were all “really delighted” the funding had been secured.

“A lot of hard work went into securing the funding and we are thrilled that it all came together.

So many people have been really generous and Reverend Charles Patrick has been so helpful as well.

The church board hopes that the survey by architects and other experts will be completed by October this year, with a view to jointly drawing up a plan for rebuilding the church by the new year. .

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