Ambitious fundraising for ‘vital’ repairs to Aberdeen’s St Machar cathedral

An ambitious fundraising project has been launched in an effort to secure the future of one of the north-east’s oldest churches.

The ancient St Machar’s Cathedral, on the Chanonry, is believed to have been first established as a place of worship as far back as the 6th century.

William Wallace’s arm was buried within its walls after his execution in London in 1305.

The cathedral is also a major tourist attraction for the city, drawing in about 25,000 visitors a year. But despite undergoing major renovations and building work over the centuries, its structure is now at serious risk. The most significant and pressing issues are with ts roof slates and the flat oak ceiling whose construction can be traced back to 1520.

It is decorated with a large number of impressive heraldic shields representing the monarchies of Europe.

A major revamp is to begin next year, but there is still £350,000 to raise to meet the £1.85 million “Raise the Roof” target. Now well-wishers can buy a slate for £10, with the names of all buyers written on a scroll and placed in a time capsule within the roof.

Singer and broadcaster Fiona Kennedy is a member of the congregation at the church and is urging people to donate. She said: “There is obviously a huge sense of history here – and its importance is not just to Aberdeen and the north-east but internationally. “I’m excited to be supporting this project and I would urge anyone with an interest to donate.”

St Machar co-treasurer Shona Mutch said: “The water is beginning to come through parts of the roof now and that is threatening the ceiling. “The fundraising is vital for the future of the building. “The history is really amazing, many of the shields now represent countries that don’t have monarchies at all anymore. “For four or five years we have been applying for grants so we really just need that last bit of support to bridge the funding gap.”

Aberdeen Lord Provost Barney Crockett added: “The cathedral is a treasure trove of Aberdeen’s history and I think it holds a special place in the heart of every Aberdonian.”

Cheques can be posted and made payable to The Treasurer, St Machar’s Cathedral, The Chanory, AB24.

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