THE government's Culture Recovery Fund has thrown a lifeline to a historic church near Stourport to help it survive the coronavirus pandemic.

Great Witley Church usually attracts visitors from all over the world as it is the only church in the UK with such a well-preserved baroque interior.

The church typically relies on concerts and donations from visitors to keep it maintained, but due to Covid restrictions, it had to cancel all of its concerts and is now only able to open for four hours a day.

As part of the government's Culture Recovery Fund, Great Witley Church is set to receive £37,500 to ensure its impressive interior can continue to be enjoyed by future generations.

Kidderminster Shuttle: The new steps installed at Great Witley Church to make it safe for visitorsThe new steps installed at Great Witley Church to make it safe for visitors

It is one of 445 heritage organisations across the country, alongside the Severn Valley Railway, to receive a life-saving share of £1.57 billion.

Churchwarden Angela Snow said: "We were thrilled to hear that our funding application has been successful.

"The grant will cover the costs of maintaining the church until the end of March 2021 and will provide funds to ensure that when it is able to fully open again there will be a full concert programme and new digital displays telling the history of the church and the once grand, but now ruined, Witley Court which adjoins it.

"It is absolutely vital that this precious heritage site is maintained for future generations and we are looking forward to the enhanced education facilities that we will be able to provide for visitors.”

The funding will help keep the church heated and aired to prevent any deterioration to the priceless painted windows and ceiling.

To ensure it is safe for visitors, new steps have also been built at the rear of the church and some of the pews have been moved so that a one-way system can be operated.

The fund will also enable the church to employ a recovery manager who will help to recruit new stewards.

Angela added: “Many of our stewards are over 70 and therefore classed as vulnerable. We are also required to have four stewards on duty with the new regulations so it’ll make a real difference to have some new volunteers to help us.”