Major restoration work is underway to secure the tower of St Patrick’s Parish Church, Ballymena, and to replace some of the stone work throughout the building.
Among other things the bell ringing chamber and the organ loft need to be protected against the elements.
A grant of £71,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund is ensuring this historic church building, one of the last remaining ‘Seven Towers of Ballymena,’ is conserved for generations to come and that its peal of 12 bells continues to ring out.
The church is on an elevated site in the town, and the visitor’s book reveals that it is visited by tourists from all over the world. As well as being a place of interest for visitors it is, of course, primarily a living place of worship.
The rector, the Rev Canon Stuart Lloyd said: “Visitors admire the beauty and atmosphere of St Patrick’s and comment favourably on its upkeep. Parishioners appreciate the fine building they have inherited but also acknowledge the responsibility placed upon them to maintain it to a high standard for future parishioners and for the wider community.”
Cannon Lloyd expressed his thanks to those parishioners and individuals who had worked so hard to get this important piece of work off the ground and had contributed generously to the restoration appeal. “I have been very encouraged by the response and I’d also like to extend my thanks to the Heritage Lottery Fund for seeing our vision and getting behind it,” Canon Lloyd said.
Paul Mullan, Head of the Heritage Lottery Fund Northern Ireland, said: “Places of worship are at the heart of many local communities and it is hugely important that these historic buildings are preserved for future generations to use and enjoy. We are delighted that funding from our Repair Grants for Places of Worship scheme will ensure the bells at St Patrick’s Church will continue to ring out for years to come.”
For more information about St Patrick’s visit the project website.