A CAMPAIGN to restore a historic church to its former glory is gathering pace.

More than £1million has been raised to conserve the tower at St Chad’s Church, Shrewsbury, and repair long-term damage to the lead, stonework and bricks.

Further work is planned to refurbish the church organ, make the building weatherproof and modernise its heating facilities.

Campaigners who are aiming to raise £2.5 million welcomed a £7,500 donation from Shropshire Historic Churches Trust which sold calendars to raise funds.

And Shrewsbury caravan dealership Salop Leisure, which also pledged a donation, has adopted the church as its Charity of the Year.

Salop Leisure chairman Tony Bywater said: “St Chad’s is one of the most important historic buildings in our town and, as a company, we want to preserve it for future generations.

“We are proud to be associated with this campaign.”

St Chad’s is the only Grade I Listed circular Georgian church in England and sits overlooking Quarry Park, the town centre and River Severn.

The church, which has raised £1.1 million towards the appeal since last November, needs to find £100,000 by February to pay for the remaining urgent repair work on the tower.

The church has already paid £300,000 for the complete restoration of its 1904 Norman and Beard cathedral organ.

The appeal, which has been supported by £250,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund, £250,000 from the congregation, £150,000 from Shropshire Horticultural Society and a grant from the National Churches Trust, will also cover major improvement of facilities.

David Tudor, development director at St Chad’s, said: “The response to the appeal has been fantastic and we would welcome support from other companies in the town.

“As soon as the church tower is restored, we can start to focus on the other projects.

“We have a duty to future generations to ensure it is preserved and maintained.

“Furthermore we have a duty to serve the community of Shrewsbury in the 21st century at the same time and to ensure we have enough revenue to do so.”

The Reverend Prebendary Mark Thomas, vicar of St Chad’s, added he was very pleased with the success to date.