Wigan church launches fund-raising appeal for £400,000 restoration of landmark spire

A £400,000 fund-raising appeal has been launched to help pay for the urgent restoration of a church spire in Wigan.
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Architects have discovered vital repairs are needed to the 130ft spire at St Wilfrid’s Church in Standish – and the community is being asked to help.

The Save Standish Spire campaign will pay for repairs both inside and outside the spire, including fixing the broken church clock.

It is hoped the repairs can be carried out later this year.

The Reverend Andrew Holliday outside St Wilfrid's Church in StandishThe Reverend Andrew Holliday outside St Wilfrid's Church in Standish
The Reverend Andrew Holliday outside St Wilfrid's Church in Standish
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The Reverend Andrew Holliday said: “The spire is an important part of our village’s heritage and is a landmark for Standish people, which can be seen for many miles around. It is essential that we preserve it and we are launching this appeal so that this urgent restoration can be carried out as soon as possible.

“As the spire is dear to everyone in Standish, we are hoping people and businesses from across the village and beyond will be able to make a donation, no matter how small, so that we can conserve the spire for future generations to enjoy.

“Obviously, our own parish funds built up to maintain the church will contribute to the costs, but the scale of the essential repairs that are needed means we have to reach out across the community for support.”

Urgent restoration work is needed at the spire at St Wilfrid's Church in StandishUrgent restoration work is needed at the spire at St Wilfrid's Church in Standish
Urgent restoration work is needed at the spire at St Wilfrid's Church in Standish

The church was described by the authors of Buildings of England as “one of the most interesting churches in Lancashire”.

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When it was rebuilt in the 1580s, the tower and spire from the previous medieval church were retained.

But in 1814, the spire was badly damaged after being struck by lightning and eventually blew down during a storm in 1822.

The replacement spire was badly designed and out of proportion to the church, so in 1867 it was decided a new one should be built.

The current spire – surmounted by a weather vane in the form of the Standish family crest, the owl and the rat – sits on top of a tower which houses a peel of eight bells rung to mark many notable events, from the Jacobite defeat at Preston in 1715 to the death of Queen Elizabeth II.

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David Johnson, chairman of the Save Standish Spire appeal, said: “From every direction as you approach Standish, the spire of St Wilfrid’s Church is the most visible landmark, symbolising the continuous presence of the church in our village through changing times and passing generations.

“The present church dates from the 1580s and is the only grade I-listed building in the borough of Wigan – it is an architectural gem in our community of which we are all rightly proud.

“However, a recent survey has identified urgent issues with the structure of the church spire which we need to address. The estimated cost of this restoration is £400,000 and we are calling on everyone in the community to help to support us with these costs.”

To contribute to the appeal, visit the church’s Just Giving page at www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/save-standish-spire or send a cheque with Spire on the

back to The Parish Office, St Wilfrid’s Parish Hall, Church Street, Standish, Wigan, WN6 0JT.