Dear Members of the Restoration Appeal Committee,
the Events Fundraising Action Team and the UK Events Committee As you know, almost four years ago, we launched an appeal to Save the Valletta Skyline by restoring the iconic tower and spire of St Paul’s Anglican Pro-Cathedral, a vital Grade 1 cultural heritage landmark which defines Valletta’s outstanding architectural landscape.
We are extremely proud that by dint of the support of the countless generous individual and corporate donors in Malta and abroad identified by the Restoration Appeal committee, together with the massive efforts of the Fundraising Committees in Malta and the UK, the tower and spire of the Cathedral will be saved for posterity.
That is an achievement for which you must take full credit and for which we are most grateful!
Another major legacy from the restoration project is our successful investment in the new Undercroft Visitor Centre, which will play a crucial role in attracting more tourists and visitors to the Cathedral.
When we embarked on this complex and challenging restoration project, we were acutely aware that the tower and spire were the most vulnerable parts of the Cathedral. Indeed, expert technical assessments of their state showed they were in an even more unstable condition than originally thought.
The overall objective of our restoration project, to which you have made such an invaluable contribution, had been no less than the complete restoration of the Cathedral.
Although we obtained EU funding towards part of the costs of the restoration, we were always dependent on the contributions of generous individual and corporate donors approached by members of the Restoration Appeal Committee, and the fundraising efforts in Malta and the UK through numerous imaginative events which have cumulatively raised literally hundreds of thousands of euros over the last three years.
We are writing to let you know that the position reached today is that contracts to complete the restoration of the tower and spire restoration have been awarded. But the overall costs of the restoration project have escalated way beyond our original estimates due to the booming construction industry prior to the unexpected onset of the coronavirus pandemic.
Since the coronavirus lockdown emergency our own fundraising efforts, which are critical to the payment of our 20% co-financing obligations under EU funding rules, have been seriously hit.
In the circumstances, we have concluded that our priority must be to complete the restoration of the threatened tower and spire, and hopefully to postpone the church fabric and the roof and ceiling for a next phase when we hope major new funding from other sources may become available.
As you will immediately appreciate, the costs of the tower/spire restoration amounting to about 4 million euros will of course still oblige us to find considerable sums of money to support our share of EU funding, so massive efforts will still be sorely needed in the next two years.
We very much hope that we can continue to count on your wonderful fundraising help!
Martin Laing and Martin Scicluna
Co-Chairmen of the Save the Valletta Skyline Restoration Appeal 28 August 2020