MORE than £200,000 in lottery funding has now been put towards the development of a church near Crewkerne.

St George’s Church in Hinton St George first received a £22,000 development grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund so the parochial church council of the village could investigate what was required to conserve the building.

Following the completion of the PCC’s work in May, a further grant for £185,000 has been given to the church to complete the refurbishments.

David Clements, the PCC’s project manager, said: “We are absolutely delighted that HLF has given us this very significant grant without which a project of this scale would have been impossible.

“The project will not only conserve the fabric of this wonderful building for future generations but also widen the possibilities for community use and enhance the experience for visitors and residents alike.”

The works include conservation of the fabric of the church, replacement of poor lighting, replacement of some pews with chairs and tables, access to the Poulett Memorial Chapel, and measures to enable greater engagement with the heritage of the church and the village.

As the PCC has already raised the necessary counterpart funding, work will start immediately on the lighting with the aim of completing it in time for the Christmas period and work on the tower will start during November.

The remaining internal works will start in January with the aim of completing the whole project by June next year.

Joint Rectors, Julia and Bob Hicks added: “The wonderful church of St George has been central to the worship and life of the people of Hinton St. George for many centuries. This ambitious project will help us to reach out to the present and future generations of the community in new and exciting ways.”

Nerys Watts, head of Heritage Lottery Fund South West, said: “Thanks to money raised by National Lottery players,We’re pleased to support this project which secures the future of St George’s Church and puts the building and its heritage at the heart of the local community.”

St. George’s Church lies just over three miles from Crewkerne within the wider Benefice of Merriott, Lopen and Dinnington. In 2014, the conservation work carried out on the historic and fascinating monuments in the Poulett Memorial Chapel won the John Betjeman Award for Excellence in Conservation from the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings.