A CHURCH has been granted almost half a million pounds by the Government for repair work.

The University Church of St Mary the Virgin in Oxford High Street is one of 142 historic sites in England to receive grants totalling £35 million.

The £422,000 funding, from the Government’s Culture Recovery Fund, will support the replacement of the nave roof and stonework repairs.

See also: Mum gives birth to 14lb 15oz baby boy - the second biggest in the UK

The Revd Dr William Lamb, vicar of the University Church, said: “We are thrilled to be awarded this transformative grant to fund vital repairs of the church and allow us to continue welcoming visitors and worshippers to the fantastic building for years to come.

“Like many churches and historic buildings, our income dropped considerably during the pandemic as we were unable to welcome visitors for a long period of time, so without this grant from the Culture Recovery Fund, these vital repairs would have been impossible.”

Duncan Wilson, chief executive of Historic England, added: “Funding from the Government’s Culture Recovery Fund is hugely welcome at a time when the people and organisations who look after our vast and varied array of heritage urgently need support to carry out essential repairs.

“Heritage is a fragile ecosystem, with an amazing cast of characters who keep our historic places alive, with specialist skills that take time to learn and experience to perfect.

“These grants will protect their livelihoods, as they use their expertise to help our heritage survive.”