THE future of Hartlebury Castle is in safe hands after its preservation trust was awarded £5 million of funding to carry out renovation work.

The Hartlebury Castle Preservation Trust and its partners, Worcestershire County Council and Museums Worcestershire, were awarded the money from the Heritage Lottery Fund to preserve the historic building and its assets.

With the help of the funding, the trust can now buy the castle and embark on a two-year renovation plan which includes bringing the castle, county museum and gardens into one integrated experience.

In 2007, the former primary home of the Bishops of Worcester was put up for sale by the Church Commissioners.

The decision to move the primary home to Worcester left the castle unused, so the preservation trust was created a year later with the aim of saving the building for the public.

Angela Brinton, president of the trust, said: “I am thrilled by this news.

“The future of the castle and its wonderful library has been secured after a long period of doubt and anxiety.

“The support of the Heritage Lottery Fund has been magnificent and we and our partners can ensure that Hartlebury Castle is established as a great resource for the people of Worcestershire and beyond.”

To be awarded the £5 million of investment, the trust was also obliged to find sponsors who could donate large sums of money toward the plans.

Reyahn King, head of Heritage Lottery Funding West Midlands, said: “I’m very pleased that Heritage Lottery Fund is able to support this project with £5million of lottery player’s money.

“The purchase will ensure that Hartlebury Castle with its distinctive architecture and the Hurd library is saved for future generations.

“We applaud the trust’s vision to welcome more visitors and bring the stories and site to life.”

The trust plans to complete the purchase from the Church Commissioners by early December before staged renovation work will be carried out, keeping the castle open to the public for the duration of the work.