Dear Friends and Supporters,
Since the last Newsletter we have been pressing ahead with our efforts to get restoration work on the cathedral started. You may recall the good news that we had available to us 4.2 million euros from EU funding which (together with 1.05 million euros we are obliged to contribute as our co-financing to the project) would give us 5.25 million euros in total – a considerable boost towards reaching the 8.6 million euros we estimate is needed to complete the whole project. We decided that for planning purposes we would use the 5.25 million euros in two ways – by allocating 2.5 million euros towards the restoration of the tower/spire. – and the balance of about 2.7 million euros in addressing the physical deterioration of the fabric of the church. We accepted that the restoration of the roof/ceiling (at an estimated cost of about 3.6 million euros)would depend on whether the government would be able to give us further EU money as a result of an underspend elsewhere in government EU infrastructure funding. Since that meeting 6 months ago, we have been actively engaged on several fronts. Our architects, Architecture Project, and their team of experts, have been drawing up the contract for the letting of the tower tender. That was tendered for the first time in the Spring. Disappointingly, the two bids submitted failed because they were non-compliant, so we immediately embarked on re-issuing the tenders, with the same two companies being asked to re-submit their bids. Those bids are now in and we are currently studying the outcome and the prognosis for the future.
Now we are at the point where those new bids for the project on the tower are in the process of being analysed and adjudicated. The complexity of drawing up those tenders – especially as they affect the construction of scaffolding round the tower/spire up to a height of 200 feet (exceptional in Malta) – has been highly challenging. The detailed analysis of the subsequent bids has meant a huge amount of really detailed work and extremely careful judgement. Architecture Project and their team of experts as our advisers on EU funding have been absolutely dedicated to finding solutions to an extraordinarily demanding project. We are now waiting with bated breath to see if, and when, work on site can begin. In parallel, our architects have been carrying out further comprehensive tests of the fabric of the church with a view to advising us which parts of the structure need to be restored within the money available to us.
His Excellency, Dr George Vella, The President of Malta
It is a great honour to announce that His Excellency, Dr George Abela, The President of Malta, has kindly consented to be the Principal Patron of the Save Valletta Skyline Restoration Appeal in succession to Her Excellency, Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca. Dr Vella said: “May I say that it would be an honor and a pleasure for me to be associated with the much needed restoration appeal of this iconic and historical building in the capacity you so kindly proposed. I consider this to be a very worthy cause, and augur that the appeal will find the funds necessary to salvage this architectural gem”.
His Royal Highness, the Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh
With great pleasure we can announce that His Royal Highness, Prince Philip, who has been the Patron of the Friends of St Paul’s Anglican Pro-Cathedral for 55 years, has kindly donated a most generous sum to the Save Valletta Skyline Restoration Appeal.
The Save Valletta Skyline Restoration Appeal
We have reported above the huge contribution of 4.2 million euros which has been made available to The Restoration Appeal through European Union Infrastructure Funding. This has been a marvellous fillip to our Appeal and it has enabled us to get going with the vital restoration project.
But, as you will be aware, part of the deal with the EU is that it is our responsibility to find 20% of whatever it has contributed. Thus, 4.2 million euros requires us to find 1.02 million euros for what is known as co-financing. Although up to the turn of this year we had raised over 1 million euros through the generosity of major donors and charities in Malta and Britain – to whom we are enormously grateful – that sum is inevitably being reduced as the restoration process gets under way.
An important element of this has been the vital need to find out precisely what major structural elements in the cathedral – especially those affecting the stability of the tower/spire – require urgent attention. Professional fees and technical tests have placed considerable demands on our resources.
It is therefore essential that the great efforts which have already been made to approach suitable donors, and to raise funds both in Malta and London through events fund-raising efforts, are relentlessly continued. While we have enough funding to get the project off the ground, more will be required in future if we are to complete this ambitious project as we would wish. Please use every friendly contact you have to generate new funding.
Thank you very much for your past interest and support, which we hope will continue in the future.
Martin Laing and Martin Scicluna
Joint Chairmen, Save Valletta Skyline Restoration Appeal