Press Release

St Helen’s Centre Appeal – Lundy, Awarded National Lottery Support

The St Helen’s Church on Lundy has received a confirmed grant of £999,600 from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) for the St. Helen’s Centre Appeal, it was announced today. Thanks to money raised by National Lottery players, the project can go ahead and enable the significant repair and refurbishment work on St Helen’s Church which will save the Church for future generations.

But more than that, the planned restoration work will enable St Helen’s to become a centre for Lundy that will not only act as a refuge during periods of bad weather, it will also become a much needed base for study by educational groups to gain a fuller understanding of broader environmental and conservation issues at the heart of Lundy’s existence, additionally, the plans will enable St Helen’s to become a centre for exhibitions and lectures – so becoming a more integral part of Lundy life, enhancing the experience of all who live on and visit this wonderful location.

The Church was built in 1897, but due to its location, it is exposed to very extreme weather conditions, which has resulted in the structural damage that can now be expertly repaired.

Fundraising continues, to ensure that all aspects of the project can be fully completed at –

Reverend Brenda Jacobs – Team Rector said:

“We are absolutely thrilled at the news of the substantial award from the National Lottery which will help secure St Helen’s Church Lundy for generations to come. Worship has always been at the heart of all we do but this award will ensure that we can do so much more for all who live, visit and study here as a real hub of island life.”

Derek Green, Lundy General Manager commented:

“St Helen’s is a fragile Island treasure, a fine example of the Reverend Hudson Heaven’s ambitious 19th century vision for Lundy, which was at real risk of being lost forever. The Church is of outstanding importance to the Island’s heritage, community and visitor alike. Thanks to the National Lottery and all our supporters, we now have a fantastic opportunity to restore the church to its former glory and as well as maintaining a place for worship, create a new centre for education, research and study. St Helens has always stood as a beacon on the horizon on the approach to Lundy and news of its rescue will undoubtedly be welcome to the thousands of visitors who have had the opportunity to visit our extraordinary island.”

Adrian Redwood, Volunteer Project Manager added:

“It is a real encouragement that the efforts of the many people involved in this project have been endorsed through this support from the Heritage Lottery Fund. The vision to create a multi-purpose facility for the church, island community, visitors and educational groups can now be realised and this iconic Lundy landmark restored for future generations. We would like to thank everyone who has donated to our appeal, and of course all the National Lottery players who will help to make our dream a reality. Exciting times ahead and a credit to all involved.”

Notes to Editors
About St Helen’s Centre Appeal
In 2010 a steering group was formed to plan the restoration of St. Helen’s and use it for educational and research purposes as well as worship. The parish of Lundy was created in December 2013. The Appeal was launched in 2015 and the first phase application to the Heritage Lottery Fund was made, which was successful. After a lot of hard work and tremendous commitment from the steering group, this second phase application was made in November 2016.

The St Helens Steering Group is supported by the following organisations:

  • The Diocese of Exeter
  • The Landmark Trust
  • The Lundy Island Society of Bell-ringers
  • A Rocha
  • The Lundy Field Society

The parish of St Helen’s is part of the Hartland Coast Mission Community – which in turn is part of the Exeter Diocese

Lundy sits some 23 miles from the nearest port of Bideford and Ilfracombe and is served by the Landmark Trust’s Passenger and supply ship, M.S. Oldenburg. The Island is a haven for birdwatchers, climbers, divers and walkers as well as those looking to escape the rigmarole of mainland life. The Island welcomes around c. 20k visitors per year and the Island has 23 extraordinary self-catering properties which are available to rent from the Landmark Trust. As well as St Helen’s Church, the Island has three lighthouses, a pub and a shop.

Lundy [other than the church] is owned by the National Trust and managed by The Landmark Trust – Web, Island Information –

About the Heritage Lottery Fund
Thanks to National Lottery players, we invest money to help people across the UK explore, enjoy and protect the heritage they care about – from the archaeology under our feet to the historic parks and buildings we love, from precious memories and collections to rare wildlife. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and use #HLFsupported.

Further Information
For further information, images and interviews please contact:
Revd. Brenda Jacobs – Team Rector Hartland Coast Mission Community
Tel: 01237 441271 email:
Adrian Redwood – Volunteer Project Manager
Tel: 07546 846008 email:

Press Release

St Helen’s Centre, Lundy wins Heritage Lottery Fund support

Lundy residents celebrate outside the church
Lundy residents celebrate outside the church

The St Helen’s Centre Steering Group was delighted to receive initial support from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) for the conservation and development of the St Helen’s Centre on Lundy.

The Group aims to undertake major works to the church to provide a new centre on the island for learning, research and worship. Development funding of £74,900 has been awarded to the St Helen’s Centre Steering Group to help them progress their plans and to apply for a full grant at a later date.

Currently, the church is in a poor state of repair. The Group plans to completely recover the roofs, repoint the walls and relay the floors. As it has for the last 120 years, St Helen’s will continue as a place of worship and a place where people can celebrate important events in their lives such as baptisms and marriages. But, once repaired, the building will also provide educational facilities for the schools that come to visit Lundy’s unique natural environment and at present have no wet-weather base.

The St Helen’s Centre will also provide interpretation to help visitors learn more about the island’s fascinating history and nationally important wildlife. Facilities will be provided for special interest groups such as the Lundy Field Society and universities to undertake research and hold talks. As part of the project, volunteers and apprentices will be given the opportunity to learn traditional building skills, help repoint the walls and be involved in other building work.

Lundy Church - Photo by Nigel Dalby
Lundy Church – Photo by Nigel Dalby

St Helen’s Church is the most recent manifestation of a 1,300 year old Christian presence on Lundy. Externally austere, it has a colourful interior with polychromatic brickwork and floor tiles, beautiful carving and stained glass windows. It was designed by the notable Gothic revivalist architect, John Norton, most famous for his work at Tyntesfield near Bristol.

The St Helen’s Centre Steering Group need to raise £400,000 to match the funds they hope to receive from the HLF and is appealing to local people to help them reach this target.

Donations can be sent to the St Helen’s Church – Centre Appeal c/o The Lundy Shore Office, Bideford, Devon EX39 2LY.

The Revd Shirley Henderson (in pink)
The Revd Shirley Henderson (in pink) welcomed to her new parish in December 2013 – Photo by Shelly Southon

The Reverend Shirley Henderson, Chair of the St Helen’s Centre Steering Group said: “I have to confess to giving a ‘whoop’ of joy when I heard this news. It’s a new beginning, a wonderful opportunity to continue the Revd Hudson Heaven’s vision for a place of Christian presence on this very special island and a resource for all who visit it, especially the next generation.”

Nerys Watts, Head of HLF South West, said: “We’re really pleased to offer our support to this project, which would secure the future of this wonderful building on Lundy, enhancing its place at the heart of the community and creating a base for the many visitors who visit the island to experience its fantastic natural heritage.”

Derek Green, Lundy General Manager, said: “We’re absolutely delighted to support the St Helens project and news that the initial bid has been approved by the HLF is absolutely tremendous. St Helens is one of the most iconic buildings on Lundy, standing as a beacon on the horizon for thousands of visitors arriving to the island. It’s fantastic that the HLF have recognised its importance to both the island and visitors but there will be much work needed to raise the outstanding funds required, and I would appeal to everyone who cares for Lundy to help bring the project to life by making a donation”

Andrew Cleave, from the Lundy Field Society, said: “The Lundy Field Society welcomes the news of the grant from HLF for the development of the St Helen’s Centre, and our members look forward to making use of the new improved facilities which will help us in the study and conservation of this unique island.”

Notes to editors

  1. Owned by the Diocese of Exeter, St Helens Church was built in 1896-7 for the Reverend Heaven whose family, at the time, owned Lundy. It is statutorily listed as a building of national architectural and historic importance grade II.
  2. The St Helen’s Centre, Lundy Steering Group is a partnership between the Diocese of Exeter, the Hartland Coast Mission Community, the Lundy Company, the National Trust, A Rocha UK, the Lundy Field Society, the Lundy Island Society of Change Ringers and the Amelia Anne Heaven Charitable Trust.
  3. Owned by the National Trust, Lundy is financed, administered and managed by The Landmark Trust.
  4. About the Heritage Lottery Fund
    From the archaeology under our feet to the historic parks and buildings we love, from precious memories and collections to rare wildlife, we use National Lottery players’ money to help people across the UK explore, enjoy and protect the heritage they care about.