Seaside church transformed into 'big white box'

A birds eye view of St Mary's Church in Great Yarmouth's Regent Road.

A birds eye view of St Mary's Church in Great Yarmouth's Regent Road. - Credit: Eastern Counties Drones

A second grant has been awarded to a seaside church turned into a "big white box" by a scaffolding shroud.

The roof of St Mary's Catholic Church in Regent Road, Great Yarmouth, is being completely replaced and a sponsor-a-slate appeal has been launched to fund a 20pc funding contribution of £125,000.

St Mary's Church in Regent Road Great Yarmouth

The catholic church in Great Yarmouth's Regent Road is having its roof replaced. - Credit: Liz Coates

The total cost of the project is around £600,000.

Brian Lafferty, chairman of the church's finance committee, said the new grant of just under £300,000 from Historic England meant all the funding was now in place.

Under the restoration the roof has been totally removed, although services are still going ahead, and the church transformed into a "big white box", he said.

St Mary's Church Regent Road Great Yarmouth

St Mary's Church is still holding services for up to 50 nationalities in Great Yarmouth. - Credit: Eastern Counties Drones

One of the casualties is a painting - The Shrine of Our Lady of Arneburgh - which has suffered water damage.

Work to re-roof the sanctuary, both side chapels, and old sacristy has been completed.

Phase two involves re-roofing the nave.

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Concrete tiles have been removed and revealed much more work to the supporting timbers due to their weight.

They will be replaced by slate tiles - stripped in the 1960s - which can be sponsored for £10 each.

St Mary's Church in Regent Road Great Yarmouth

St Mary's Church in Regent Road, Great Yarmouth, is completely under wraps. - Credit: Eastern Counties Drones

St Mary's Church Regent Road Great Yarmouth

St Mary's Church in Regent Road is covered in a white shroud. - Credit: Liz Coates

In return a message of up to 30 words will be inscribed on the tile and a photographic record kept for posterity,

Mr Lafferty said there was currently "no roof at all" on the church and the parish needed to raise its contribution.

St Mary's Church Regent Road Great Yarmouth

St Mary's Church stands in Regent Road, Great Yarmouth's main tourism thoroughfare. - Credit: Liz Coates

"As a parish we need to raise 20pc. What they have given us amounts to 80pc and the diocese have paid the other 20pc for us. But that comes in the form of a loan we have to pay back.

"It is a bit like a mortgage."

St Mary's Catholic Church restoration Great Yarmouth Regent Road

St Mary's Church restoration in Great Yarmouth seen from above with Joyland in the foreground. - Credit: Eastern Counties Drones

Of the Historic England film he said: "They have told the story in a good way.

"It puts the focus on Great Yarmouth. It is not just about the church it is about the people in the town."

St Mary's Church restoration Regent Road Great Yarmouth

St Mary's Church has been transformed into a 'big white box' as a sponsor-a-tile funding bid is launched. - Credit: Eastern Counties Drones

He said a large number of slate tiles had already been sponsored, many commemorating family milestones like weddings. But the initiative was one of a number of fundraising drives suspended during the pandemic and now finding their stride again.

To donate or find out more visit www.stmarysgy.org.uk.