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Prince Charles makes £2000 donation to Irish church

The Prince of Wales has donated £2,000 to help with the restoration work at the historic St Patrick’s Church in Belfast City Centre.

The donation was made following a high-profile visit to the church in May in May when he was shown around the building by first ministers Peter Robinson and Martin McGuinness.

The money donated will go towards renovation of the church’s spire which is in need of repair.

Work on the church should commence in the New Year after a successful fundraising campaign. However, as of yet a full restoration cannot take place as the £1.5 million target needed to carry out the work has not yet been met.

Father Michael Sheehan, parish priest of St Patrick’s Church, said that the gift from the heir to the throne had come as a surprise.

He said: “We were surprised to receive a donation as he doesn’t give a donation to every group that he visits.

“I think it has come from his own appreciation of built heritage, an appreciation which has always been there. There is some heritage here, with the site used to celebrate Mass from 1815.

“In particular the parish gratefully acknowledges the help, support, advice and recent grant by Heritage Lottery Fund of £120,000. Such generosity will enable essential works to commence on the church’s spire in January 2016.”

The Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall visited the church last May during their two-day visit of Northern Ireland.

St Patrick’s Church has been at the centre of disputes in relation to loyalist band parades.

When the couple visited in May, a small group of people staged a protest outside the church against the Royal visit.

The cheque for £2000 was made out in July, with the total amount received only being revealed on Monday.