Funding boost to aid repairs to historic coastal church deemed 'at risk'

St. Edmund's Church in Kessingland near Lowestoft.

St Edmund's Church in Kessingland, near Lowestoft. - Credit: Nick Butcher

It has been at the heart of one community for more than 500 years.

And a project to restore and enhance a historic coastal church has now received a significant funding boost.

The Grade I listed St. Edmund's Church in Kessingland, near Lowestoft, has been awarded "a crucial" £168,000 from the National Lottery Heritage Fund to preserve the building for future generations.

St. Edmund's Church in Kessingland, near Lowestoft.

St. Edmund's Church in Kessingland, near Lowestoft. - Credit: Nick Butcher

Delighted officials said that a scheme to carry out "essential urgent repairs" to the church on Church Road, Kessingland can now go ahead following the funding boost.

A church spokesman said: "This follows an application made with the support of the community, including Waveney MP Peter Aldous, Kessingland Parish Council, the village C of E Primary Academy and a diverse range of village businesses and voluntary groups.

MP Peter Aldous, who represents Waveney. PICTURE: Jamie Honeywood

MP Peter Aldous, who represents Waveney. PICTURE: Jamie Honeywood - Credit: Archant

"The church has a fine flint flushwork tower, which has been a landmark for seafarers since it was built in the mid 15th century and has many mementoes of the fishing heritage of the village.

"However, the 17th century thatched roof is in a dilapidated state and with additional water damage to the buttresses the church was officially declared 'at risk' and in danger of closure.

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"The project is expected to cost around £220,000 in total, with over £37,000 of this amount already having been raised by local residents and supporters."

St. Edmund's Church in Kessingland, near Lowestoft.

St. Edmund's Church in Kessingland, near Lowestoft. - Credit: Nick Butcher

In August 2018, an appeal was launched to Raise the Roof at St Edmunds Church with fundraising events held and people invited to 'sponsor a batch of thatch'.

Now, with the grant funding, works will see the creation of a new heritage area in the church and new church and village guides, with the involvement of the Primary Academy to "enhance the attractiveness of the church and village to visitors".

The churchyard will also be made more wildlife-friendly.

The Rector of Kessingland Benefice, Rev Mandy Bishop, said: "We are delighted to receive this funding.

"It validates the huge local support and effort that has gone into securing the long-term future of this vital building for our community.

"Now, thanks to all National Lottery players, and all donors and fundraisers the project will restore St Edmund’s roof so that it can continue to serve its community through the 21st century."