STAINED glass windows at a rural Ribble Valley church, some which date back to the mid-19th century, have been earmarked for a major restoration project.

St Leonard’s Church in Balderstone has received £65,200 from the Heritage Lottery Fund for the refurbishment scheme.

The project will focus on restoring five of the windows installed in memory of local people and also includes replacing fractured stone mullions which act as dividers within the windows.

The community, including children from Balderstone Primary School, will be involved in the project through a range of activities running alongside the repairs.

These include open days and an invitation to people in the Ribble Valley and surrounding areas to create artistic interpretations of the stained glass windows.

Visits by children of the school to see Tiffany Glass at the Haworth Art Gallery and to the World of Glass Museum at St Helens are also planned.

A workshop in the school will involve the children in designing and creating an item of decorated glass.

In total five windows will be refurbished and work is planned to start in August and to last between six to nine months.

The oldest window that is to be refurbished dates from 1880 and has a ‘The Ascension of our Lord’ theme depicting Christ surrounded by angels.

John Mather the project co-ordinator said: “We are delighted to have obtained the support of the Heritage Lottery Fund and are excited about involving both the local and wider community in the project.

“We have been planning this for just over a year and to get the money is very satisfying and rewarding.”

Balderstone Primary School headteacher Janet Banks said: “We are proud to be part of a close church community at Balderstone.”

Artistic interpretations should be submitted by August 31 and for more information e-mail: The church will be open from May 18, to May 23, for people to come in and draw the windows.