Slowly, slowly….

DSC_6859 DSC_6867Work is progressing slowly with the repairs to the church.   More of the fascia boards than we had hoped are having to be replaced, but a really good bit of news is that we have been given an Exclusion Order to try and keep our resident bat population out of the church.   A maternity box has been put up so that the bats can still breed, but are prevented from actually getting in to the building itself.

Cold, wet and windy weather has made life difficult for the workmen, but the bats have also been slow to wake up after their winter hibernation.   With any luck, the precautions taken to exclude them from the church have been put in place just in time to persuade them to move into the lovely warm bat box which has been on the exterior of the building awaiting occupation since 2008!

We are on the way at last!

At last we have embarked on our programme of repairs to St Margaret’s.   Snow is holding things up but the scaffolding should be complete next week and the contractors will start their work.   When taken down, most of the guttering proved to be too worn to be reused, so more has had to be bought.

After consultation with Scottish Natural Heritage, we have applied for a Bat Exclusion Licence.   In 2008, efforts were made to encourage our population of pipistrelle bats to move out of the church and into various bat boxes which have been put up on trees round the church, and one  heated box attached to the building.   These have not yet tempted the bats to move!  There has been correspondence in various newspapers about bats, churches, and people.   If those reluctant to disturb the bats (ours are the most common of the species) were on the cleaning roster for their church, or even attended services, concerts etc in a building inhabited by bats flying about above their heads, they might feel less well disposed towards the colonies in their church.  We realise it may take some time to exclude the complete colony, but we are hopeful of eventual success.

It is very good to think that we have at last started with our efforts to keep St Margaret’s Church in good repair and ready for whatever the 21st century may bring.   We would not have arrived at this moment without financial support from the Heritage Lottery Fund, Historic Scotland, and all our generous donors.   A great deal of hard work is on going, and we are most grateful to all who have so kindly supported us.

At last!

It seems a long time since we were given the good news that under the Repair Grant for Places of Worship, funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund and Historic Scotland, we were to be given funding for repairs to St Margaret’s.   The total estimated cost of repairs to the roof, stonework, guttering and downpipes, including the cost of scaffolding for three months, is £177,664.

The funding table is made up of £66,429 from Historic Scotland, £65,900 from the Heritage Lottery Fund, £23,746 in VAT repayment and £21,589 from St Margarets.

We have now had HLF’s Permission to Start on the delivery phase and our contractors, McKerron & Milne from Rothes, will move in with cherry pickers at the beginning of November.   They will remove guttering and downpipes, replacing them with temporary PVC ones to see us through the winter while the originals are repaired, cleaned and repainted ready for reinstallation when the scaffolding goes up in March.   Work will then start on the joiner work, slating, repointing with lime mortar, and replacing the gutters.   The hope is that the weather will allow completion by the end of May 2013 at the latest.

The project will be overseen by Ian Fraser from LDN Architects in Forres.

A great project, and we are most grateful to the Heritage Lottery Fund and Historic Scotland for making it possible.   This wonderful building will soon be restored and ready to survive into the 21st century and beyond.

Article in the Press & Journal

An article in the Press & Journal Friday 10th August 2012 about our fundraising campaign.