Villagers are celebrating the completion of a three-year project to restore and preserve their parish church, with the help of a major Heritage Lottery grant.
The Grade 1 listed St Denys’ Church spire in Aswarby was deemed unsafe and needed repairs. The church also caters for visitors from around the world to see where the famous Royal Naval surgeon and explorer George Bass was baptised.
The HLF granted £219,087 plus an initial development grant of £22,900. Work has now been completed to the tower, spire and drainage, with the spire having to be taken down several layers and re-built. During this time, thieves stole lead off the north aisle roof which required additional fund raising. The committee will continue to fund-raise for other work needed.
On Sunday September 9, friends and supporters came together to celebrate the completion of repairs. Also supported by the HLF, a new guide book to St Denys’ Church and the village of Aswarby has been created, informational banners and books, a leaflet outlining the famous explorers from Lincolnshire with links to Australia, a booklet/travelogue following the story of George Bass, a children’s illustrated booklet called A Boy called George and various other children’s activities.
In addition, Osbournby Primary School has been working to tell the tale of George Bass and has started a twinning project with the Bass Valley Primary School in Victoria, Australia. To support this a teachers’ resource pack has also been developed.
The Bass Strait between Tasmania and mainland Australia is named after George Bass. The project has had notable letters of support, including from the High Commissioner of Australia and the Director of the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich.
Fundraising committee chairman, Sonia Playne said: “We are delighted to reach the end of months of hard work and to see the glorious repairs and construction made to St Denys’.”