AN ambitious fundraising campaign is underway in Kington to ensure no one looks down on the town's highest point.

After 800 years standing sentinel, the spire of St Mary's Church is showing its age. Stained glass windows acclaimed as 'outstanding examples' have lost their lustre.

The much-needed makeover will cost around £169,000. A tough target for a small town, but that doesn't put the dedicated off their aim.

There's £4,500 in the kitty already. Another £60,000 found from local funds earns the interest of English Heritage and the Heritage Lottery Fund - successful bids to both makes meeting the target a lot easier.

Together, The Friends of St Mary's and the Parochial Church Council are confident they can make this 'down payment'.

But it's a gesture of good faith that depends on belief shown by the town and surrounds.

Something as simple as sponsoring a shingle could make all the difference. The bill for new shingles needed on the tower won't leave much change out of £137,000.

Restoring the windows is expensive too. These are outstanding examples of work done by the distinguished Victorian firm Clayton and Bell, and limited edition prints showing them in all their 1878 glory might help toward the £32,000 that keeps them that way.

Bank Holiday crowds coming to Hergest Flower Fair (May 5) should swell campaign coffers. The event has nominated St Mary's as this year's charity.

And Hereford Cathedral Choir swaps its usual surrounds for an aid concert at the church in March. St Mary's will share the proceeds with The Hereford Cathedral Perpetual Trust.

A best case scenario has work starting later this year, if not early 2004. No one is thinking the worst.