MAJOR renovation work has started after a church’s funding prayers were answered.
Workmen have begun to replace stonework that has worn away after centuries at Holy Trinity Church in Seaton Carew in a £200,000 project.
Parishioners raised the money needed after three years of hard work through its On A Wing and a Prayer appeal.
The campaign, co-ordinated by Carol Cliffe, was set up with the aim of renewing one wing of the church at a time due to the high cost of the scheme which had an original target of £150,000.
But all of the restoration work is set to be completed by the end of September.
The Reverend Paul Allinson said: “I’m thrilled that work is finally under way. It is a major piece of work.
“All of the stonework that has worn away is going to be replaced and cement work is being redone.
“Work will also be done to the tower and gutters.”
The parish centre is also being updated at the same time which is in need of new wiring, toilets and lighting.
The Bishop of Durham, the Right Reverend Paul Butler, and Bishop of Jarrow, Mark Bryant, are due rededicate the parish centre when they visit Holy Trinity in September.
Mr Allinson said it will also be a recourse for the whole town
The Heritage Lottery Fund gave the church £56,000 from a pot for urgent repairs to historic places of worship.
But it was on condition that the church, which dates back to the 1800s, raised the rest.
Other generous grants came in from church trusts and the Durham Diocese.
Parishioners raised thousands from a combination of balls, concerts, fairs and a book on the history of Seaton Carew and Holy Trinity written by church member Julie Cordiner.
Mr Allinson added: “We have been overwhelmed by the amount of support we have had.
“At the end of the work, the church will look outstanding.”