Fire-hit parish church secures vital cash boost

The Royston church restoration is continuing - and from December the community is encouraged to tie a ribbon in memory of...

The Royston church restoration is continuing - and from December the community is encouraged to tie a ribbon in memory of a loved one on the gates. Picture: Lance McDonald - Credit: Archant

Vital grants have been awarded to the refurbishment scheme for Royston’s cherished parish church, which was devastated by fire in 2018. 

St John the Baptist Church, an important cultural and community asset in town, has stood charred and empty since December 2018.

The full cost of the restoration and refurbishment is well over £1 million and insurance will meet some of that cost, but not all. Despite many of their plans being thwarted due to lockdown restrictions, the hardworking fundraising committee has continued to apply for grants in a bid to secure funding and work to restore the site has been ongoing.

Allchurches Trust and the Brian Leslie Racher Charitable Trust, administered by Tees Law in Royston, have generously awarded the project significant sums - amounting to £25,500 in total.

Chair of St John's Fundraising Committee, Sarah Dingley, said:  “We are immensely grateful to the trustees of the Brian Leslie Racher Trust and Allchurches Trust for helping to bring the dream of a refurbished church building a little closer.”

Chloe Ewen, grants officer for Allchurches Trust, added: “We’re delighted that our funding can support the restoration of St John the Baptist so that it can support local people for years to come.

"Congratulations to the church and community who have worked so hard to get the project off the ground, in order to bring this much-loved building back to life.”

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Allchurches Trust is one of the UK's largest grant-giving charities, allocating more than £23 million to churches, charities and communities in 2020. Its funds come from its ownership of the Ecclesiastical Insurance Group.

The Brian Leslie Racher Trust also donated money towards St John's' sponsor-a-chair scheme, which has proved popular with the community.

Local groups, including the WI, have also contributed and the church is incredibly grateful for the "humbling community support" received. 

Nearly half of the target chairs have been sponsored. If anyone would like to donate to this project,  contact the church office through the website at