Published Date: 8th March 2007
WATER dripping into buckets does not aid meditation, however beautifully ornate the leaky roof.
But now, thanks to a grant of £127,000 from English Heritage and the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), the Buddhists at the Losang Dragpa Centre at Dobroyd Castle, Todmorden will be able to repair the roof and save the intricate stone-work dating back to 1869.
“The Buddhists here have done a great job of renovating and redecorating the castle room by room over the years. But they’ve never had the capital to tackle the roof, which is a huge problem,” said Trevor Mitchell, English Heritage team leader for West Yorkshire.
Trevor explained the first step would be to bring in architects and surveyors to assess the situation as the flat roof leaks in a number of places, stone-work is suffering from water damage and the tower is showing signs of cracking. The grant will go a long way to fund the roof repair but the Buddhists will have to raise funds to complete the scheme, which will cost in the region of £200,000.
“There have been times when I’ve tried to meditate and all I could hear was dripping water. I’ve had to go up into the attic with a bucket to stop it dripping before I could continue,” said Kelsang Tsalden, who has been a resident at the Buddhist centre for seven years.
Members of the community have brought the castle back to life after it stood empty for a number of years. Paint has been stripped from ornate wood panelling and most rooms have had a face lift, but resident nun Kelsang Longku, admitted it was a never-ending programme, like painting the Forth Bridge. Even the leaky roof has been tackled by working parties of volunteers patching the cracked asphfalt but the roof coverings and drainage systems need to be replaced.
Gen Chokga, the centre’s resident teacher, said: “Receiving the grant is wonderful for us. It will mean that we can begin essential work to protect the fabric of this beautiful building, for the benefit of generations of Buddhist and non-Buddhist visitors alike. Without the help of English Heritage and HLF this would not be possible.”
The grant is part of a regional programme of support, totalling £1.6 million, for 15 churches and places of worship across Yorkshire and Humberside, to target eroded masonry, leaky roofs and damaged stained glass windows.
Fiona Spiers, Heritage Lottery Fund manager for the region, said: “By focusing on the most urgent repair needs, often with quite modest grants, this joint Heritage Lottery Fund and English Heritage scheme supports the efforts of local people and makes a significant difference to the long-term prospects for buildings like the Buddhist Centre.”