One of York's most iconic churches has cleared a major hurdle in its battle for £73,000 of funding to preserve the building for another half century.

The cash is on the cards after St Paul's in Holgate secured backing from the Heritage Lottery Fund for proposals to conserve the West Front and other features.

The endorsement means the congregation get £5,500 to develop their bid for the next round of the competition for the money.

If successful, the full grant would also pay for vital repair and conservation work to the bell cote and pinnacles between July and November next year.

There would also be research and photographs for a leaflet and exhibition about the heritage of the site - a hub of the local community which hosts three Sunday services and community activities.

Built in 1851near the London to Edinburgh train line for nearby workers, it is one of two York churches built by subscriptions from rail staff.

Windows in the Grade 2 listed building include a 1951 Harry Stammers stained glass and one, possibly two, by White Friars of London.

Church Warden Joyce Cockerill said: "The church has been the focal point of the parish of Holgate for over 150 years. It is great to know that we are a step closer to preserving it for at least another century.”

Regional Head of the Heritage Lottery Fund Fiona Spiers underlined that churches provided a powerful reminder of the past in nearly every community across Yorkshire.

She added: "Not only will our awards secure the immediate future of these particular buildings, it will also empower congregations to adapt them, where necessary.

"This means they can be enjoyed more widely throughout the community and in turn enable them to be more sustainable for the future.”

Meanwhile, the Fund has given £91,400 to the permanent display of artefacts and memorabilia from Norton and Malton’s past. The Woodhams-Stone Collection.

It will finance a project called Two Collections, Two Towns, focussing on the digital recording of the thousands of items in the Collection, plus recorded interviews with local founders John Stone and Sid Woodhams.