WHITWELL'S Parish Church, St Mary and St Rhadegund, has received a National Lottery grant of £199,000 for the Fabric Repair heritage project.

Thanks to money raised by National Lottery players, the project aims to repair the roof, stonework and stained glass of the medieval parish church.

Supported through the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), the project aims to carry out essential conservation work, research and revise the Guidebook and hold events to encourage people to visit and learn about the church.

An educational programme is also planned and volunteers will be given training so they can help guide visitors to our many heritage artefacts.

The church is a focal point in the community, used as a satellite Post Office two days a week as well as weekly worship.

Rector of Whitwell, Rev Dr Nigel Porter, said: "This amazing award from the National Lottery helps to safeguard and improve an important historic place of worship which is the centre and focal point of our village. It will continue to be a place where people meet and worship for decades to come."

Rt Rev Christopher Foster, Bishop of Portsmouth, said the grant was wonderful news.

He added: "Whitwell Church is central to the life of the village and community as a place of worship and so much more. At the heart of village life and as a sacred space, it is wonderful to know that it will be secure for the future."

Michelle Roffe, Head of HLF South East said: "We have been delighted to support St Mary & St Rhadegund to carry out urgent repairs and engage new audiences with this much-loved local landmark. Thank you to the National Lottery players who have made it possible."