Bucks Fizz! (188,000 of them)

It's time to put the champagne on ice. But possibly not quite time to pop the cork.  As we went to press, the friends of All Saints had been told unofficially that their application to the Heritage Lottery Fund has been APPROVED.  The dramatic news was given to the Annual General Meeting of the Friends by Charles Dunn, the committee member who has been leading the negotiations with the Heritage Lottery Fund.

If confirmed - and the hope is that this is now just a formality - it will mean a massive injection of almost two hundred thousand pounds to the fund! That will cover two thirds of the estimated costs of the essential roof repairs. It means that those who have worked hard to raise funds and those who have responded to the appeals will soon be seeing some bricks for their bucks, some pinnacles for their pounds, some slates for their smackers. It means that the great goal of saving this iconic building is now achievable with just a little more help from those who believe it worth preserving.

Of course, it still means that the Friends have to raise the remaining one-third of the costs, and there will be other expenses too. Then there is the challenge of continuing to provide for the long-term health of the building. But the Lottery Fund bid was the Big One. It could see the release of some £20,000 within weeks for detailed assessments to be carried out followed by stage payments totalling a further £168,000 which would see the work finally starting to happen.

Even so, Charles is cautious. Like an estate agent who has had an offer on a house but not seen a signed contract, he warns: "I've had a phone call from the Lottery Fund to say our application has been approved, but still nothing in writing. So it's really a case of Watch This Space".

But for the rest of us, it is more of a case of "Watch This Champagne" to see if it is cold enough to open.

« back to page list