On Thursday 6 February City Mayor Sir Peter Soulsby joined fundraisers at the Mary de Castro Anglican Church for an appeal to raise awareness of the Church’s fundraising campaign to construct a new spire. The Mayor hopes that everybody will unite together to help one of Leicester’s oldest churches. The history of the Church dates back to the 12th century and it is rumoured that it was here in1366 where Geoffrey Chaucer married Philippa (de) Roet.
The Church was forced to close down last year when various cracks began appearing in the Spire meaning that it no longer met health and safety standards amid fears it would collapse. The Spire has now been covered in scaffolding with plans to take it carefully apart stone by stone. The fundraisers are aiming to raise £600 000 to cover the cost of a new spire. There has been a £187, 000 grant to help contribute towards this from the Heritage Lottery Fund.
A spokeswoman from the Diocese of Leicester has stated that the demolition work is expected to begin as soon as possible and there are hopes that worshippers will be back in the church by 2017. Upon the discovery of Richard III’s body last year the Church received a record amount of visitors with the figure totalling 668. Indeed the Church has historic links with the King that date back to his lifetime where he is thought to have worshipped at the church during stays at Leicester Castle. It is also thought his body may have been placed here following his death at Bosworth. The church’s rescue plan amid a succession of fundraising concerts also includes a partnership with De Montfort University’s Square Mile project which desires to enrich the wider community. The Church has both a Facebook and Just Giving page where the latest fundraising news can be found.
To donate to the appeal go to www.stmarydecastrospireappeal.co.uk or www.justgiving.com/stmarydecastro