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Last Updated: Thursday, 1 January, 2004, 13:18 GMT
Shakespeare church under threat
The church where William Shakespeare was baptised and buried is under threat after dry rot and death-watch beetle were found in the main trusses of its chancel.

The Friends of Holy Trinity Church in Stratford-upon-Avon said the bill for restoration work had now risen to 150,000, 50% more than previous estimates.

Catherine Penn, one of the trustees of the Friends, which was launched last June, said work to repair the crumbling parapet was almost complete but other vital repairs are ongoing at the 800-year-old Grade I listed edifice.

She said donations from tourists had dipped due to the downturn in visitor numbers in the wake of September 11 and the recent SARS scare.

'Sponsor a gargoyle'

"The Friends have just handed over a cheque for 30,000 and things are going well at the moment, but tourist numbers are well down.

"We are hopeful that things will improve next year and if anyone wants to sponsor a gargoyle we would be more than happy to hear from them."

Shakespeare's Church, as it is popularly known, benefits from donations from up to 100,000 devotees of the playwright who visit each year, but the chancel, north and south aisles and north and south transepts are all in need of repair.

Shakespeare was baptised at Holy Trinity on 26 April, 1564 and was buried at the church on 25 April, 1616, two days after his death.

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