CAMPAIGNERS have launched a £3 million project to “revive and regenerate” a historic North Dorset church to better serve the needs of the local community in the 21st century.

St Peter and St Paul Church, in Blandford Forum, which rises over the town’s market square, was rebuilt after fire destroyed the original building in 1731 and has been described as the finest example of a Georgian church outside of London.

Rector of Blandford Forum and Langton Long the Rev Tim Storey explained that the gradual deterioration of the building has been a subject of concern for many years and extensive work was needed inside and out.

To help resurrect the church building campaigners launched the Cupola Project at a public meeting held in the church on Wednesday, which included representatives from the diocese, heritage bodies, the council and community groups, as well as members of the public.

The immediate aim is to repair some of the more dilapidated parts of the church, including the cupola, as well as regenerating the building so it can be of greater use to local people in a programme of refurbishment expected to take between seven and 10 years.

“We need to encourage people to think more about it and over the next 12 months our hope, our intention and our desire is that momentum builds as people discover the project and become more concerned with it,” said Rev Storey.

At the launch of the project the church’s leadership handed out brochures explaining its vision for the future.

For more information about the project email, telephone 01258 456260 or go to the church’s website at