A newly launched appeal for €3m (£2.6m) to restore St Paul’s Anglican Pro-Cathedral in Valetta, Malta has got off to an encouraging start.

The appeal attracted wide attention with a headline in the Sunday Times “Queen’s Maltese Church is Crumbling” drawing attention to the fact that after World War II, the then Princess Elzabeth lived on the Mediterranean island while Prince Philip was stationed there as a Royal Naval officer. The royal couple regularly worshipped in St Paul’s.

At the official campaign launch in mid-February a group of Patrons, an Appeals Committee and a Fund-raising Events Committee were announced for the project.  A booklet with the strapline “Save Valletta’s Skyline” outlines details and costs to encourage generous support. This is the first major restoration work to take place since the Second World War and it is hoped to complete the necessary works by 1st November 2019, the 175th Anniversary of the Consecration of the building.

The Cathedral Chancellor Canon Simon Godfrey says; “The Cathedral pays homage to St. Paul, considered to be the spiritual father of the Maltese, and is deeply symbolic of two centuries of close Anglo-Maltese relations. Its unique and historic identity is complementary to and in harmony with the Archdiocese of Malta walking together in Faith. The Cathedral and its Chancellor enjoy close ecumenical ties with the Maltese Catholic Church and other denominations in Malta. The Cathedral’s memorials bear important testimony to the sacrifice and valour of countless Allied Servicemen who fought to defend Malta during the first and second World Wars”.

In another heartening development Malta’s TV news reports that the Roman Catholic Bishop of Gozo and as an act of unity he pledged a Sunday congregation’s collection from his own Cathedral to boost the Anglican appeal. The Bishop said Lent is a particularly good time for charitable actions and he was keen to help “our Anglican brethren”.