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Since its launch in March the St Bride's Inspire! Appeal has made a great start towards its £2.5m target. More than £700,000 is now in the appeal fund, enough for the Churchwardens and the PCC to have agreed that preparation work should be carried out over the winter with a view to starting work on the spire in the Spring or early summer 2013 when weather permits.
The commitment to start the work before all the money needed has been raised makes it imperative that we redouble our efforts to meet our targets next year to pay for repairs to the roof and the remainder of the external cleaning. Meanwhile the congregation is being asked by the PCC to raise £200,000 to pay for internal cleaning to be carried out ideally in 2014.
Under the chairmanship of Gerald Bowey, the Inspire! Appeal committee has attracted a great deal of helpful publicity which has encouraged early donors from among large companies in the parish and from the newspaper industry. Many small private donors have contributed, as have some of the many trusts we have approached for help.
To date, under the patronage of former Lord Mayor Sir Michael Bear, the majority of fund raising has been directed outside the St Bride's 'natural constituency' of media and the Fleet Street business community. A number of discussions are taking place and there is every hope that the first £1,000,000 milestone will be reached around the end of this year or early next.
Given the urgency of the work to restore the spire and the relatively short summer "limestone" season in which work can be safely carried out, the need to commit to the work next year is now regarded as a priority.
The Venerable David Meara, rector, said: "Following a number of approaches to me and others I feel now is a very good time to be thinking about how we can engage the congregation fully in our efforts to save our world famous spire and restore our precious church and after Christmas we will be working on a plan to put to the PCC on how this can best be done."