The bells at a famous Birmingham church will ring out once again next year after its repair fund was given an £83,000 boost.
St Edburgha’s Church in Yardley has been silenced amid fears about the safety of its crumbling spire.
But work is now pencilled in to start at the 700-year-old Grade One-listed chapel in spring next year thanks to the grant from English Heritage.
Church leaders still need to find more than £800,000 to rebuild the original tower and repair the roof.
But warden John Seeley said the return of the bells would be music to the ears of worshippers.
“The peal of our bells is one of the finest in the Midlands and it is such a shame that we haven’t heard them for so long,” Mr Seeley added.
“This is fantastic news and we hope to start work early in 2011 so we can use the bells for weddings and church services the following summer.
“That will be the first phase of the work that needs to be done to the church and we will be working hard to raise money to get the whole church sorted for generations to come.”
The church is the second oldest in Birmingham behind St Martin’s in the Bullring and it forms the centrepiece to Old Yardley Conservation Area which was set up to protect the area’s heritage.
But it has fallen victim to the elements.
Parts of the 150ft spire’s stonework are so badly eroded that sunlight can now be seen from the inside.
An appeal was started last year to safeguard the future of the church and the congregation have so far raised a total of £32,000 through events and donations.
More than £1.9 million has been handed out to 28 places of worship in the West Midlands.
Tim Johnston, regional director for English Heritage, said: “Places of worship form a priceless part of our region’s heritage.
“Unfortunately the maintenance of this legacy poses some tough challenges, so these grants are vital in boosting fund raising efforts to ensure we all continue to enjoy these remarkable buildings,” he added.