WINCHESTER Cathedral’s £19 million fundraising appeal has received a major boost.

Civic chiefs granted the cathedral’s request for £100,000 in January last year and city councillors have now agreed to release the first £25,000 in the early part of this year. A council decision on January 28 means subsequent tranches are to be paid annually over the next three years.

Winchester city officers recommended that councillors approve the funds on the basis that “the cathedral plays a key role in the life of the Winchester District” and that “The ‘Cathedral effect’ permeates throughout the local economy.”

The news follows a £10.5m cash injection from the Heritage Lottery Fund last year.

The appeal will aid several projects, including repairing the roof and medieval windows, improving the education centre, and revamping the sound system and lighting.

It will also support three new exhibitions.

The cathedral is still raising money to make up the rest of its appeal, with around £4m still needed.

Repairs are expected to start in early autumn while work on the exhibitions will begin shortly afterwards.