A TWELFTH century church will finally get 21st century facilities, thanks to a £50,000 charity grant.

The Church of St John the Baptist, in Hall Road, Mount Bures, has been awarded the cash by the Garfield Weston Foundation.

Parishioners have been raising money for nearly three years in order to install a small kitchen and toilet inside the much-loved grade-I listed building.

The grant forms the final piece of the puzzle, and work on the revamp, which will cost just under £100,000, could be completed by the spring.

Reverend John Chandler, vicar of the parish of Mount Bures, said: "We are delighted to receive the money because it shows the faith organisations have in us.

"The church is a beautiful place to be and the community around here love the church very much.

"This project will bring it a bit more up to date and mean we are able to do a number of things we were not able to do before."

An extension will be built housing the new toilets and a "servery", or a small kitchen, will allow church volunteers to serve refreshments at the premises.

Rev Chandler said: "This is a 12th century church where there has never been a toilet or kitchen.

"That may have been fine 800 years ago, but now when people come here from all over the country, like for a wedding, it is very difficult to say to people we don't have a toilet when someone has driven from Coventry.

"Quite a lot of churches are raising money for things like this."

According to the vicar, the renovations cost is much higher than it would be, were the property not quite so historic.

He said: "People may think the figure sounds a lot, but this is a grade-I listed building and we have to be extremely sensitive with the design and the materials used.

"We do not have a start date yet but we have set the ball rolling.

"We are hoping it will be complete by the end of spring in time for our flower festival on June 26 and June 27."

The Garfield Weston Foundation has awarded the money as part of its anniversary fund, which will distribute £11 million of funding to more than 150 charities across the UK this year.