AN early 20th-century church near Ledbury is set to receive £25,000 towards urgent repair and maintenance work.

The church of St Edward the Confessor at Kempley was opened in 1903 and was described by John Betjeman as “a mini-cathedral to the Arts and Crafts Movement”.

But in 2010 increasing problems were experienced at the church with water coming in both through the roof and floor.

And this time last year, the parochial church council launched an appeal to raise £110,000 for the repairs. Working with the Friends of Kempley Churches and other village organisations, the appeal has raised some £50,000 so far.

Now English Heritage and the Heritage Lottery Board have offered to provide a grant of £9,000 towards the development costs and a further £16,000 towards the repair costs once the fund-raisers provide the necessary paperwork.

Rector Rev Tony Lomas said: “The news that English Heritage has offered us £25,000 towards our target provides us with added incentive to seek further financial support from other sources to ensure that St Edward’s church continues to serve the needs of this small village community.”

PCC treasurer and chairman of the Friends of Kempley Churches Professor Basil Jarvis said: “St Edward’s church is important in the life of Kempley, both as a place of worship and as a heritage building.

“We are delighted to receive this offer of funding from English Heritage, which will enable us to plan and then carry out the essential repairs and restoration in a timely manner.”

The grade two-listed church was built by the seventh Earl Beauchamp to provided an alternative place of worship to the Norman church of St Mary which is on the outskirts of the village in a flood-prone area.

St Edward’s church became the parish church in 1975 following the redundancy of St Mary’s.