Work on a grade one listed church on the outskirts of Burtonwood has completed a seven-year restoration project to replace its roof which was hit by a death watch beetle infestation.
St Oswald’s Church in Winwick was mentioned in the Domesday Book, written in 1086, and although the current building has been extended and altered over the years, the roots of the church have been part of the Winwick landscape for over 900 years.
Costing £1.3million the restoration was made possible with the help of English Heritage, English Heritage Lottery and laterly Hertige Lottery funding, in addition to other grant giving bodies and numerous volunteers working tirelessly to raise the funds along with individuals and groups alike who pledged donations to save the church.
As part of the project the interior has been re-ordered to create a flexbile usable space with the introduction of a stage, new sound system and improved lighting which it is hoped will appeal to a variety of groups and individuals looking for that extraordinary venue : a special space for community use.
The last seven years however have not been without difficulty, additional works have been identified during the building process which were unplanned but necessary and costly.
Building and grounds subjected to vandalism .Reduced income and increased costs as a result of closure have led to an increase to church debt.
Throughout however the congregation at Winwick have remained positive, steadfast and optimistic in the vision and redevelopment of the church building.
A church spokesman said: “Whilst we look forward to the next phase in the evolution of St Oswald’s church , we will take time to celebrate and rejoice in the generosity of individuals, groups and grant giving bodies, contractors and architects who have given time, expertise and donations that have enabled a future for this wonderful building.
“A service in celebration of the church reopening will be held at St Oswald’s on Sunday 2nd July 2017 at 3pm followed by refreshments. Additional Church Open Days ( 10 am to 2pm) are scheduled for 2017 as follows : 15th and 19 July, 5th and 17th August, 8th and 9th September, 2nd December. All welcome.”