In 2012 we reported on the work that had been carried out to the East end of the Church and noted in that report that certain cosmetic work was not carried out at that time due to rising costs of unforeseen work. This cosmetic work included the plastering of the walls on the Lady Chapel and the Choir Vestry and the interior plastring of the vestry.
Further negotiations with English Heritage led to a successful application for a grant to restore the three clocks in the clock tower and to renovate the stonework of the clocktower and re-point where necessary. The guttering on the west end of the roof was also to be examined and renewed where faults arose.
The estimated cost for the work was £132,843.00 (excluding VAT) with an additional sum of £3,000.00 (approved by English Heritage) to cover unforeseen works to the clock masonry. English Heritage approved a grant of £128,000.00 towards these costs. A Faculty was sought from and approved by the Diocese after the plans of work had been submitted. A pre-contract meeting was held in the Church on 17th June 2013, further site meetings were held on a monthly basis during the work, which started on 19th November 2013, the work was concluded on 11th April 2014. The result of this stage of the restoration is aparent to all. The clock faces are now in full view of the general public and the restored masonry enhances the facade of this Grade 2 Listed building. Secret gutters have been installed and parts of the rafters showign rot have been replaced. The walls above the choir vestry and Lady Chapel have b een re-plastered, unfortunately there was not enought money left to re-plaster the interior of the choir vestry and this will be addressed in the next stage of the restoration. It will also be apparent that the north and south parts of the ceiling above the west end balcony and the east end Lady Chapel and choir vestry have not been re-decorated, again this will be addressed in the next stage.
Prior to the work starting a meeting was held between the wardens and the Finance Officers from the Diocese and it was agreed with the Diocese that any shortfall in funds would be addressed by the Diocesan Finance Committee until the VAT was repaid by Listed Places of Worship. A change in the agreement for the application of return of VAT has meant that architects instructions and works to clocks are now included in the agreement after September 2013, which covers part of the architects costs and all of the clock costs. The next phase of restoration involves the church roof and further discusions with English Heritage will continue in this vein during the coming year should the PCC approve. As well as the involvement in this major work, all fire extinguishers have been checked and a complete safety check of the Church has been carried out. The floodlights are all in working order and the cellar at the east end has been drained from previous flooding and a new pump installed. New carpets have been laid at the west end and elecrical and gas safety audits have been carried out. In accordance with the instructions from the legal department of the Diocese, we have walked the boundaries of the property on regular occasions to check on and prevent third party encroachment and have found no cause for concern. Our good relations with the Failsworth office of the Oldham Metropolitan Borough Council continue and we have appraised them of the problem with tree roots in the drainage on the south side of the property and also of the need to curtail the branches of some of the larger trees. This is in hand. This liaison with the Council led to successful participation in the switching on of the Christmas lights at Failsworth Pole. The maintenance of the Mission Hall has been kept up through good works of Christine Booth and John Lancashire and although minor work is still needed on an ongoing basis, the hall is well kept and well run.
Midway through 2013 came an important and welcome event in the Church's history, the induction and collation of Fr. Jonathon Elcock as our Parish Priest. This was a memorable occasion and as wardens, our thanks go to all those people who assisted in making it so.