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The iconic spire of St Bride's Church in Fleet Street, London - the inspiration for the tiered wedding cake - is at grave danger of being classed as officially 'At Risk' if a further £300,000 is not raised by Christmas this year.
The funds are desperately needed so that works can commence in the Spring of 2013, securing the spire and ensuring that there is no danger to passers by from failing masonry. If left to deteriorate further, scaffolding and shrouding around the spire will be required, and eventually the Church could even have to close.
The INSPIRE! Appeal was launched in March 2012 and has so far raised around £700,000 of the overall minimum total of £2.5 million. St Bride's which is one of Sir Christopher Wren's masterpieces is frequently referred to as the 'journalists' Church' and retains strong links with the media industry despite the wholesale move by the press out of Fleet Street.
The Church also has a full programme of musical and other events in addition to daily services, hosting a huge range of concerts, lectures and a lunchtime recital programme that has been running for 25 years. Forthcoming highlights include former Jethro Tull frontman Ian Anderson and the annual performance of Handel's Messiah by the professional St Bride's choir. The future of activities such as these, which play a vital role in the life of the local community, could be threatened if the funds for the renovations are not found.
The Patron of the INSPIRE! Appeal, Sir Michael Bear, Master of the Worshipful Company of Paviors and late Lord Mayor of London, is leading calls to the business community to support St Bride's. "The beauty of the City of London, as a place to live, work and to visit, is drawn from the richness and variety of the buildings, with old and new co-existing harmoniously. We must not allow important parts of our heritage such as St Bride's Church to fall into disrepair; if we do the City will be poorer for it, therefore I would like to see companies based in the City making the INSPIRE! Appeal the charity of their choice this Christmas to help reach the vital £1 million target to start work on the restoration of the spire"
Paul Finch, Chairman of Design Council Cabe and Chairman of the Appeal Working Group added: "We've had a great response to our appeal, which we anticipated would take two years when we launched it in March. We have £700,000 (with a target of at least £2.5 million); the critical thing is to get to the first £1 million which will allow us to begin vital work in 2013. So if you or your organisation is thinking about a donation, please make it by Christmas!"