A FUND has been set to save an historic Lake District church mural in need of restoration.

Ambleside's famous Rushbearing Mural, painted on the west wall of St Mary’s Parish Church in 1944, is in need of specialised restoration costing £13,000.

The mural portrays children re-enacting the ancient custom of strewing a layer of fresh rushes over the earthen floors of churches once a year.

The Rev Beverley Lock, team rector of the Loughrigg Team Ministry, said: "Rushbearing is an important annual event in Ambleside. The Rushbearing Mural is a striking feature of the church and serves as a constant reminder that we must work together as a community.

"I am so glad that the appeal led by St Mary’s Church to restore the mural is being fully supported by our community in preserving this important part of our local heritage.”

Ambleside retains its traditional procession of bearing flower-decked rushes round the village to church, which captured the imagination of late Gordon Ransom, a lecturer evacuated to Ambleside during WW2 with the Royal College of Art.

He used local children as models for the mural and when re-visiting Ambleside in the 1990s he told a packed congregation about how the 26-foot mural was created and about the materials he used.

Now the paint on the mural is flaking and has cracked and the much-needed restoration work is expected to last for three weeks.

Cash or cheques can be handed to a member of the Mural Appeal Committee, Marguerite Jenkinson, Judith Shingler, Brian Hewitt and Pauline Carrick.

Cheques can be posted to the Mural Appeal, St Mary’s Church, c/o Ambleside Parish Centre, Vicarage Road, Ambleside LA22 9DH, and made payable to Mary’s PCC, annotated ‘Mural Appeal.'

Donations can also be paid directly into St Mary’s Parish Church account, sort code 204528, account number 80774251, referenced Mural Appeal.

Anyone who would like to find out more about rushbearing and to be involved in the organisation of the day in July is asked to attend the annual general meeting of the committee on April 24, at 7pm at the Wesley Room, Ambleside Parish Centre.