A PROJECT to repair Ripon Cathedral’s leaking roof has been awarded almost a quarter-of-a-million pounds in coronavirus support cash.

The great Gothic structure has been granted the money as part of the government’s £1.57bn Culture Recovery Fund which was launched to help restart vital reconstruction work at cherished heritage sites hit hard by the pandemic.

Ripon Cathedral, which dates back to 672AD, is set to receive £240,000 and will also use the cash to replace damaged stonework in its 15th Century library.

The Dean of Ripon, the Very Rev John Dobson, said: “Ripon Cathedral is a living, active cathedral, with outstanding heritage, serving the needs of this region today.

“This grant helps enormously with our care of historic fabric, while also helping to safeguard heritage skills.”

The cathedral has remained partially open for private prayer with services held behind closed doors and streamed online during the national lockdown, and will restart more seasonal services as restrictions are lifted on December 2.

On display inside the cathedral is a huge suspending net of some 10,000 angels which helped raise the remainder of the cash needed for the £300,000 roof repairs and stonework.

The ‘Wing and a Prayer’ exhibition also raised money for the Yorkshire Air Ambulance charity.

It comes as the cathedral is pushing ahead with plans for its first major extension in over a decade, including a new cafe, shop, education space and some areas being opened up to the public for the first time in centuries.

The Very Rev John Dobson previously said the £6m developments are “vital to bring this national treasure into the 21st Century”.

The government’s Culture Recovery Fund cash is benefitting more than 445 historic buildings across the country including museums, galleries, theatres, independent cinemas, heritage sites and music venues.

Extra money is also going to heritage organisations including English Heritage, Landmark Trust, Historic Royal Palaces and the Canal and River Trust.

Duncan Wilson, chief executive of Historic England, said: “These grants range from giving skilled craft workers the chance to keep their trades alive to helping heritage organisations pay the bills, and to kick-starting repair works at our best-loved historic sites.

“The funding is an essential lifeline for our heritage and the people who work tirelessly to conserve it for us all, so that we can hand it on to future generations.”

Culture secretary Oliver Dowden added: “As a nation it is essential that we preserve our heritage and celebrate and learn from our past. This massive support package will protect our shared heritage for future generations, save jobs and help us prepare for a cultural bounce back post Covid.”