£354K boost for Ripon cathedral repairs

rip  Ripon Cathedral lit by floodlights.  100329M2c.
rip Ripon Cathedral lit by floodlights. 100329M2c.

A huge project to renew and repair the crumbling stonework of the north-east corner of Ripon Cathedral has received full funding from the Government.

Culture Secretary Sajid Javid announced on Monday that the whole amount sought by Ripon Cathedral – £354,617 – had been successfully awarded from the First World War Centenary Cathedral Repairs Fund for England’s Cathedrals.

The Dean of Ripon, the Very Rev John Dobson, has welcomed the announcement.

He said: “I am delighted. This grant means that urgently needed work can be done quickly on this iconic building, one that speaks of the enduring presence and love of God in this region.

“The announcement comes at a time when we are doing much in Ripon Cathedral to mark the centenary of the First World War and following a weekend when more than 400 people have participated in a consultation process that seeks to discern God’s will for future mission in this place. This grant certainly helps.”

Ripon Cathedral has received all the money it applied for to renew and repair the crumbling stonework of the north east corner of the building.

Part of the project will involve the replacement of some of the cathedral’s gargoyles, which have weathered to the point where their original designs cannot be made out anymore.

The designs for the new gargoyles will be decided through a competition, it’s been revealed, details of which will be announced in the new year, with the new gargoyles expected to be installed by August 2015.

The £20m Cathedral Repairs Fund was announced by the Chancellor in the Budget earlier this year.

Grants enable cathedrals to undertake urgent repair work, including keeping the building wind-proof, weather-tight, safe and open to the public, and preventing

further deterioration of the building.

Sir Paul Ruddock, chairman of the First World War Centenary Cathedral Repairs Fund expert panel and chairman of the Victoria and Albert Museum, said: “The appeal of cathedrals is vast and enduring.

“Every part of English history can be seen somewhere within their walls.

“I am delighted that this second round of grants is providing vital support to keep them open for all to enjoy.”

Award of the grant has also been welcomed by the city’s MP, Julian Smith.

He has arranged for MP Sir Tony Baldry, Parliament’s Church Estates Commissioner, to meet the Dean in the coming weeks.

Mr Smith said: “It’s a fantastic boost for Ripon with the cathedral being such a key part of the city.

“My aim is to ensure the cathedral has as much support as possible from Westminster and national level.”

Ripon Cathedral is one of four in Yorkshire to receive a share of the £8m Government grant, alongside Cathedrals in Wakefield, Bradford, and at York Minster.

Chancellor George Osborne said: “Many Britons will have visited a cathedral this summer to attend a remembrance service marking the Great War.

This £8m grant, part of £20m I announced at the last Budget, will ensure that these beautiful and historic buildings remain much-loved places of worship and remembrance for another century to come.

“Our great cathedrals are the envy of the world, bringing many tourists to the cities of UK, so this investment is also great value for taxpayers.”