£200,000-plus project stops the deathwatch clock at historic Prescot church

St Helens Star: Canon John Taylor and St Mary's parishioners check out the progress Canon John Taylor and St Mary's parishioners check out the progress

A £200,000-plus project to call time on the destructive antics of the deathwatch beetle in Prescot Parish Church is moving ahead at full speed.

Work to eradicate the pest began in March at historic St Mary’s with the slates being stripped from the nave and chancel roofs before affected woodwork was treated and stonework repointed.

Concrete used to repair damaged stonework in Victorian times had begun to decay and replacements made from cut sandstone have been used in restructuring the roof, part of which dates back 400 years.

Canon John Taylor told the Star: “Henry V1 gave the land to Kings College, Cambridge and we became vicars while Kings College became lay rectors responsible for the upkeep of the church.”

The cost of the refurbishment is £211,000 but offset against that is a £73,000 Heritage Lottery grant and some hard-working fundraisers within the Prescot community.

“People have worked extremely hard,” said Canon Taylor.

“Parishioners have been very generous including those who do not come to church but still think of it as ‘theirs’.

“We need about another £138,000 to complete the job.”

This Saturday, July 5, a summer fair and fun day, with proceeds going to the rebuilding fund, will be held in the grounds around St Mary’s from 11am until 3pm with entertainment by St Helens Concert Band.

Other fundraising events include Ian Cooney’s sponsored abseil down the west front of Liverpool Cathedral on Saturday, August 3.

Anyone who wants to help can also donate old mobile phones or broken items made from gold or silver or make a donation Canon John Taylor and friends check out the progress at St Mary’s payable to Prescot PCC.

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