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Last Updated: Wednesday, 3 January 2007, 13:07 GMT
3m bid as Bard's church crumbles
Holy Trinity Church at Stratford
Shakespeare is buried in the chancel
Campaigners are making an urgent appeal to raise up to 3.25m to repair the crumbling church where William Shakespeare was baptised and buried.

The 13th Century Holy Trinity Church, in Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire, was where the Bard worshipped with his family.

The group Friends of Shakespeare's Church said the tower, spire, windows and part of the roof needed work.

In 2004 the edifice was under threat from dry rot and death-watch beetle.

An architectural survey carried out at the time revealed major structural problems and the restoration work - also needed on external stonework - has since been carried out in stages, a spokesman said.

Our heritage may be "priceless" but it still costs a great deal of money to preserve. We need your help
The Reverend Martin Gorick

Scaffolding has been erected around the spire and the group urgently needs to raise 200,000 to keep it in place for further repairs that have been identified as necessary.

Friends of Shakespeare's Church said: "The New Year brings with it a focus on the fund to help solve the immediate crisis of the tower and spire. We call it the Save Our Spire fund; 200,000 is urgently needed.

"We cannot tell yet what the total amount of money will be that we need to raise, but the most recent estimate from the architect is in the region of a further 3.25m."

Thousands of people visit the Grade I listed building each year. Last year it received 50,000 funding from English Heritage and the Heritage Lottery Fund.

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

The Reverend Martin Gorick said: "It is a national treasure, being kept open by a faithful group of local people with no government help.

"Our heritage may be "priceless" but it still costs a great deal of money to preserve. We need your help."

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