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Michael Palin warns of deathwatch beetles in UK churches
A new campaign, fronted by Michael Palin has highlighted the need to protect church buildings from deathwatch beetles, leaking roofs and crumbling stonework.
As a representative for the National Churches Trust (NCT), the Monty Python actor has spoken out about the threats facing churches and chapels in the UK.
Deathwatch beetles can cause significant structural damage to the wood of historic churches and cathedrals as their larvae burrow through the timber.
In an animated film for the charity, Mr Palin is encouraging members of the public to join the NCT's Friends scheme, to provide urgent repairs in a bid to prevent the closure of historic church buildings across the country.
He said: "Churches and chapels are fascinating and sometimes surprising places to visit,
"They are rich with history and stunning architecture and also places for quiet reflection and venues for concerts, exhibitions and even beer festivals.
"But sadly many are threatened by leaking roofs, crumbling stonework. And even death watch beetles.
"The animation shows just how important churches are to our history and heritage and also to local communities. With post offices, shops and even pubs closing, churches are often the only community building left in many parts of the country."
The NCT say churches are the heart of local communities and should be preserved for future generations to enjoy.
The trust gave out a total of £1.2 million in grants to churches and chapels in need of urgent repairs in 2018.
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