Historic church on ‘at risk’ list

ICONIC: Heckmondwike's Holy Spirit Church
ICONIC: Heckmondwike's Holy Spirit Church

A CHURCH with links to the Apollo astronauts and author G K Chesterton has been placed on English Heritage’s At Risk register.

The Holy Spirit Church, which celebrates its centenary in 2015, is badly in need of roof repairs and has recently been granted £170,000 by English Heritage to carry out the work. It must also raise an additional £100,000 itself for the repairs and redecoration.

English Heritage’s At Risk register, published this week, includes the Holy Spirit church for the first time and classes its condition as ‘poor’.

Parish council chairman Peter Moreland said while they were concerned at the inclusion in the register, it was not unexpected and the church was actively fund-raising locally, nationally and even globally to get the work done.

“We identified major problems three years ago and set about applying for grants,” he said. “We were delighted to receive the funds from English Heritage but we still need to raise an awful lot ourselves.

“Irrespective of our listed building status, we can’t underestimate its historical significance with the links to GK Chesterton, a regular visitor and friend of Father O’Connor, and the links that Father Paddy Roche had with the Apollo astronauts, the Ryder cup golfers and the singer Bing Crosby.

“We feel sure that a lot of people, Catholic or non-Catholic, would want to see the Holy Spirit preserved as a landmark in the town.”

Anyone who can help with the appeal can contact Peter on 01924 501774 or email petermoreland@hotmail.com.

A special website has been set up to support the appeal. Visit www.holyspiritcentenaryappeal.org.uk.