Tuesday the 18th of May

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“We need a respectful, mutual listening, free of ideology and predetermined agendas.” Pope Francis, Let us Dream, December 2020

Michael Palin warns of Deathwatch beetle threat to churches

Michael Palin is supporting the future of the UK’s historic churches and chapels with a voiceover for a new animated film.

The 80 second animation, produced for the National Churches Trust, highlights why churches are some of the nation’s best loved buildings.

It also shows some of the dangers facing church buildings. These include leaking roofs, crumbling stonework and the dreaded Deathwatch beetle, Xestobium rufovillosum.

The Deathwatch beetle is a serious wood-boring pest which can cause major damage to church timbers. When an adult, the beetles produce a rapid tapping sound by beating their heads against wood as a mating call.

“Churches and chapels are fascinating and sometimes surprising places to visit,” said Palin. “They are rich with history and stunning architecture and also places for quiet reflection and venues for concerts, exhibitions and even beer festivals.

“But sadly many are threatened by leaking roofs, crumbling stonework and even Deathwatch beetles.

“The animation shows just how important churches are to our history and heritage and also to local communities,” he continued. “With post offices, shops and even pubs closing, churches are often the only community building left in many parts of the country.”

In the animation, Palin says that people who want to save historic churches for the future can support the work of the National Churches Trust by joining its Friends scheme.

The National Churches Trust charity supports churches throughout the UK by providing grants for urgent repairs and community facilities. In 2018, it gave 228 grants to support projects around the UK. Demand for its grants rose by 24 per cent in 2018, compared to 2017.

“The National Churches Trust does so much to help keep the UK’s church buildings open and in good repair. It’s a great charity to support,” Palin said.

“Friends get a chance to visit some of the UK’s most fascinating churches and learn about their history and heritage. Even more importantly, they help the Trust safeguard more historic churches for the future.”

Claire Walker, CEO of the National Churches Trust said: “We are delighted that Michael Palin has become the voice of the National Churches Trust in a new animated film about our work.

“This animation will allow more people to find out about our work. I hope it will also bring us new Friends and supporters so that together we can ensure that the UK’s churches and chapels continue to be at the heart of our national heritage for many, many years to come.”

The animation will be promoted via the National Churches Trust’s website and social channels and to the over 10,000 people who receive the Trust’s monthly e-newsletter. It will be supported by press advertising in publications including The Times and The Daily Telegraph.

The National Churches Trust animation was conceived and produced by Network, an independent London advertising agency.

Dennis Clegg, consultant for Network said: “This was an exciting opportunity to articulate the National Churches Trust’s story simply and compellingly through a blend of arresting visuals and Michael’s warm and persuasive voice over.”

Picture: Michael Palin. (John Swannell).