A MAJOR restoration scheme to renovate the roof of Haworth Parish Church could be in line for Heritage Lottery cash.
The church has received initial support from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) for its North Roofs restoration project. The HLF has endorsed the scheme's outline proposals.
The initiative, which aims to repair and refurbish the north-facing roofs of the historic Victorian building, now has up to two years to submit full proposals to compete for a firm award at a later date.
The roofs are in urgent need of repair to make the building waterproof again. It is hoped that the restoration can be carried out during the spring of 2015.
In July 2012 repairs to the church's south-facing roofs were completed. A spokesman for the church explained: "Once the whole roof project is finished, it will enable us to further expand our community and educational support programmes as well as explore the possibility of re-ordering the existing space at the west end of the building to provide much-needed meeting and catering facilities."
The church was built between 1879 and 1881 and replaced the previous building where the Rev Patrick Bronte, father of the famous authoress sisters Charlotte, Emily and Anne, was rector from 1820 until 1861. All but Anne Bronte are buried beneath the church.
The Rev Peter Mayo-Smith, priest-in-charge at the church, said: “We’re delighted that the Heritage Lottery Fund has given us this support.
"The church building has been at the centre of village life and it’s still important to Haworth not only as a place of worship but as a centre for community activities and entertainment. It’s great to know that we are a step closer to preserving it for another century.”
Fiona Spiers, head of HLF Yorkshire and Humber, said: “There is a place of worship in almost every ward, village and town across the Yorkshire and Humber region, providing a very powerful visual connection with our past.
"Not only will our awards secure the immediate future of these particular buildings, it will also empower congregations to adapt them, where necessary, so they can be enjoyed more widely throughout the community and in turn enable them be more sustainable for the future.”