AN HISTORIC church seeking to raise £10m for a major renovation project is appealing for volunteers to welcome visitors.

St John the Baptist Church, which received a boost when the Duke of Westminster donated £500,000 to the restoration fund, wants to keep its doors open throughout the week.

Project director Michael Bartlett said: “Having successfully launched the appeal, St John's project is now looking for more volunteers to welcome visitors from all over the world.

“We need volunteers to work in our small shop or to acts as guides. The project team, at the moment, can only run four days a week. We want enough volunteers to open six days a week.”

Founded in 689AD, the walls of St John’s have seen more than 1,000 years of prayer but crumbling stone-work and the rotten roof are in urgent need of repair.

The long term vision is to install a new heating system so more concerts can be held and to reopen the Chapter House and build in the gardens to create a visitor centre, museum and cafe.

Michael added: “His Grace the Duke of Westminster has given the appeal a great start but we need millions of pounds to keep the doors open and conserve treasures for future generations to enjoy.”

St John's has this week launched its summer season of free weekly lunchtime concerts ‘Wednesday's at One’. Refreshments on sale.

To get involved with St John’s or make a donation, go to or call 01244 403634. Community groups wishing to use either St John's or its sister church St Peter's by The Cross are urged to get in touch.

Visit to see the St John’s appeal video.