Aswarby Church with links to Australian explorer celebrates completion of restoration work thanks to Heritage Lottery Fund

The newly restored St Denys' Church at Aswarby. EMN-180913-175448001
The newly restored St Denys' Church at Aswarby. EMN-180913-175448001

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.

Under restoration - St Denys' Church, Aswarby has been renovated with help from a Heritage Lottery Fund grant. EMN-180913-175428001

Under restoration - St Denys' Church, Aswarby has been renovated with help from a Heritage Lottery Fund grant. EMN-180913-175428001

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.

Information banners have been produced thanks to research as part of the project at Aswarby Church. Various other books and information material has also been produced with the community's help. EMN-180913-175121001

Information banners have been produced thanks to research as part of the project at Aswarby Church. Various other books and information material has also been produced with the community's help. EMN-180913-175121001

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’.”

Local people who came along to the celebration event at Aswarby church last week. EMN-180913-175217001

Local people who came along to the celebration event at Aswarby church last week. EMN-180913-175217001