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St Mary’s flower festival in Long Sutton raises £8k with percentage towards restoring Europe’s oldest wooden spire deemed ‘unsafe’ as works set to start in autumn





Visitors to a week-long flower festival with a ‘swinging 60s’ theme have helped raise much-needed funds towards repairing a church’s unsafe spire.

St Mary’s Church in Long Sutton has the oldest and tallest wooden spire in Europe which needs to have structural restoration in the region of £50,000 to make it safe.

Having suffered from woodworm and deathwatch beetle the upper platform of the spire has been deemed unsafe by specialists Buttress Architects and funds from the flower festival totalling £8,000 will help with the cost.

The Beatles featured in this display of the ‘Swinging 60s’ at St Mary’s flower festival in Long Sutton
The Beatles featured in this display of the ‘Swinging 60s’ at St Mary’s flower festival in Long Sutton

Fr Jonathan Sibley said: “The flower festival was an amazing event which attracted some 5-6,000 visitors.

“It was helped by the fact that it was good weather and a good theme.

“There has been a lot of good will and good feeling with additional stalls including plants and a raffle.”

Mods and Rockers at the 60s inspired flower festival
Mods and Rockers at the 60s inspired flower festival

The problematic spire was built around 1200, with its timber carbon dated to as far back as 1120.

Fr Sibley said: “We need to wait until the beginning of autumn because of the bats and until then we will continue to raise the money and get all the plans approved.”

The Diocesan Advisory Council will make plans available to the public before work to the upper platform of the spire can start.

At least ten per cent of the money raised at the flower festival, which totalled a few thousand more than last year, will go towards the £50,000 needed for full restoration work.

The cost will be around £50,000 to restore the spire to safety
The cost will be around £50,000 to restore the spire to safety

After detailed drawings using lasers have been made the next stage will be to put out tender to companies to carry out the work.

Fr Sibley added: “We have a number of extra donations specifically for the spire so we are well underway.

“The support has been absolutely incredible and I want to thank the Spalding Guardian for officially opening the flower parade and for their continued support and publicity.

St Mary's flower festival in Long Sutton has helped to raise funds towards restoring the spire
St Mary's flower festival in Long Sutton has helped to raise funds towards restoring the spire

“Some of the funds, at least £800, will need to go to the church as well.”

Restoration work is set to start in September and October.

Visit the Go Fund Me page to help out with the cause.

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