Campaign launched to raise £500,000 for Kirkcaldy Old Kirk Tower

A campaign has been launched to help raise £25,000 to help renovate and preserve Kirkcaldy's oldest continuous used building '“ the Old Kirk tower.

Rosemary Potter at the top of the tower. Pics by Walter Neilson

The 15th century landmark is in need of a fair bit of TLC if it is to continue to serve as a vital piece of history, lookout tower and much more to future generations of Langtonians as well as visitors from all over the world.

Now its custodians, The Old Kirk Trust, which took over the running of the building more than seven years ago, is hoping that supporters will get behind the fundraising campaign by pledging what they can to help repair the leaking roof and upper windows.

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The overall target of the campaign is £500,000 and grant applications are being prepared for this. However the Trust has to provide evidence of the community’s backing for the applications in the form of donations and letters.

Rosemary and George in front of the Old Kirk

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The history of the Old Kirk Kirkcaldy

It is now inviting people to pay £100 to sponsor a step of the tower, with the chance to have their initials displayed next to it, probably in the form of a small plaque.

The tower has 100 steps, so this would help raise £10,000, while the Trust also hopes a crowdfunding campaign through MyParkScotland could more than double this amount.

The group is offering help to the Old Kirk because it is a member of It’s Your Neighbourhood, the non-competitive, community side of Keep Scotland Beautiful.

Supporters can help by sponsoring a step of the tower

If it can reach this target then it will also apply to the Heritage Lottery Fund for a grant to help carry out work on repairing the roof which is constructed from reinforced concrete beams, and also to carry out work on the upper windows and walls within the ancient building to make it wind and watertight for the hundreds of visitors who love to climb the old stone steps and view the breathtaking panorama over the coast to Edinburgh as well as over Kirkcaldy.

Already this year the tower has played host to visitors from America, Australia, Canada, Croatia and Spain, to name but a few.

The Old Kirk is open Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays throughout August between 10am and 3pm for guided tours of the church and tower given by Trust volunteers.

Anyone climbing to the top is allowed to ring the church bell and there are also activities to keep youngsters occupied. While entry is free, donations are always welcome.

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The tower is built of ashlar, a finely dressed sandstone, and has looked out over the town for 700 years and seen many changes to the landscape.

Rosemary Potter, chairman of the Old Kirk Trust, told the Press: “The townfolk, and many from further afield, supported us magnificently when we first opened the Old Kirk to the community in 2011.

“We have since built up a strong community venue which fulfills the church’s historic purpose of community service and worship, and we hope, which proves the public’s trust in our venture is well-founded.

“Now we are seeking support for this next important part of Kirkcaldy’s heritage – the iconic tower – the oldest building in continuous use in the town.

“It was a familiar landmark to Adam Smith, Robert Adam, Sandford Fleming, Michael Nairn and George Gillespie, and its bell, the oldest item in the church, was first cast in 1553.

“We weren’t sure what state the outside of the roof was in, but we now have drone footage of it showing the concrete beams which need to be refurbished and a new roof put over the top.

“Likewise the wood in the window frames on the tower haven’t been maintained over the years and are blowing out, so they need replaced. It is going to be putting up scaffolding to carry out the work which is going to be very costly.

“This is phase three of our programme of work which has alredy seen stained glass windows replaced, heating installed and toilets, staging, lighting and audio visual equipment installed in the church.”

If you would like to give a donation or write a letter of support on why you think the tower is important to Kirkcaldy and visitors to the town, then contact Rosemary on 07902 649414 or send a message through the Kirkcaldy Old Kirk Trust Facebook page.