An historic church in Colchester's Dutch Quarter will become a valuable community resource thanks to a much-needed national lottery grant.

A grant of £203,000 has been donated to the Churches Conservation Trust, which owns St Martin's Church in West Stockwell Street.

The Trust has been battling for the past two years for the money to restore the building, parts of which dates back to the 11th century.

Since then the conservation trust has struggled to raise the funds to continue with the work and the windfall is likely to help with continued restoration.

Hannah Moss, spokeswoman for the trust, said the money would help them carry out the two phases of restoration beginning with building work to restore walls which had been painted black, installing toilets, cleaning monuments, lime washing the ceiling and a new roof for the vestry.

It is hoped the work can begin in the summer but it will probably take a year to finish.

"We are concentrating on just getting it restored at the moment so no definite decisions have been made on the exact use it would have for the community and educational needs," added Miss Moss.

Published Thursday, March 21, 2002