Urgent appeal launched to save historic Dales ‘Mouseman’ church from closure

It HAS served a community in the Yorkshire Dales for more than 150 years but now an urgent appeal is being launched to save St Margaret’s Church from closure.

On Sunday, a £200,000 appeal to save the church in Hawes will be launched at a special service and presentation at 2pm.

Major work is needed to repair the leaking roof and the walls, windows and surrounding stonework, which are breaking up, endangering the church’s stained glass.

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Architects have warned that without a major overhaul the church, which features oak pews and woodwork carved by celebrated furniture maker “Mouseman” Robert Thompson, and his assistant, Lyndon Hammel, will shut.

It has been decided that work to add a kitchen and make the church more accessible will be included in the project taking costs to £650,000.

The Heritage Lottery Fund, administered by English Heritage, has given a grant of £186,000 towards the first phase of repairs.

The church hopes that English Heritage will also support the second phase but it needs to raise £200,000.

“St Margaret’s holds a very special place in the hearts not only of those who worship here but of the whole town,” the vicar, the Rev Ann Chapman, said.