After ten years and £500,000 of fundraising, work has finally begun on the tower at St Petroc’s Church in Padstow thanks to a £175,000 boost from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

St Petroc’s Church has seen a decade long programme of works aimed at ensuring the building remains as a central part of the village of Padstow for generations to come. Revd Canon Chris Malkinson, priest in charge at St Petroc’s, says this latest works will mark the end of his ambitions for the church building and will come just in time for his retirement in October 2017.

Canon Chris said: “The community here in Padstow have been just phenomenal. They have just never stopped fundraising and for any community to raise half a million pounds is just amazing.”

It was in 2003 that it was realised the church building was in urgent need of repair. Chris said: “We knew if we were going to hand it on to future generations, something needed to be done so we launched the Coracle Appeal. With the expertise of our church surveyor, David Scott, of Scott and Company of Truro, we were soon in a position of knowing how great the task we faced was and that £500,000 was needed. But over time, it became clear that the tower work was such that we would need at least a further £100,000 to complete our task and that’s when we applied to the Heritage Lottery Fund.”

Following an initial development phase grant of £33,000, the church was fortunate to be granted a further £175,000 for the work and on Monday, staff from Chris Sedgeman Scaffolding in Penzance arrived on site to start erecting the scaffolding that will remain in place for the next six months. Plastic sheeting will also envelope the tower to protect it from the winter elements while work is undertaken.

Canon Chris said: “It is going to take three weeks for all the scaffolding to be built and then work can begin on repairing and strengthening the tower.”

During the work the church bells will be silent. Canon Chris said: “It will be sad not to have our bells for Christmas and Easter but this work is just so important if we are to protect the building for future generations.”