A MAJOR project launched in 2005 to save a church near Stourport from closure has reached its final phase - with £60,000 needed to restore the flagstone floor.

More than £330,000 has been raised and spent during the last 14 years on restoring the Grade 1 listed St Peter's Astley Parish Church, which was cold and damp due to a leaking roof and broken boiler.

The Restoration and Repair Programme was launched, which has collected donations and grants to see the church roof replaced, an accessible toilet installed and a free car park developed.

Redditch Advertiser:

Its final phase requires £60,000 to £70,000 to level the splintered stone flooring and carry out some external masonry work.

Peter Archer, of The Old Rectory in Astley, said: "It's been a gradual process restoring the church but it is now warm, dry and looks in fine condition.

"There is still a major problem with the church floor where the stones have fractured and splintered so we've got a big job to sort that out which will cost up to £70,000.

"We're going to apply for a Heritage Lottery Grant but to do that we need to show that the community is benefitting, so we're working with Astley Primary School, North Worcestershire Architectural Group and Astley and Dunley History Society to prove that this is not just about mending the church, but growing the community."

Redditch Advertiser:

An art and craft exhibition will be held next weekend to raise funds.

More than 20 artists and crafts people from the Wyre Forest area will be selling original paintings, jewellery, pottery and wood turning, with 20 per cent of profits going towards the floor restoration.

Refreshments will be available and visitors can take a tour of the 100-foot-high church tower, with views over Bredon, Malvern North Hill and Clee Hill - and a chance to wind up the 200-year-old tower clock.

The exhibit opens at 11am on Saturday, October 19 and at midday on Sunday, October 20. Admission is free.