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Anglican Bishop of Leeds starts his new role

The Right Reverend Nick Baines today officially becomes the new Anglican Bishop of Leeds.

Bishop Baines, who was the Bishop of Bradford, takes charge of the new diocese of West Yorkshire and the Dales. His new role was marked with a special service at York Minster attended by three thousand people from across the region.

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Meerkat gives birth in mock church

The Meerkat the mock church Credit: Calendar

The owner of a parrot zoo in Friskney in Lincolnshire says staff have been left amused after a female meerkat gave birth to three babies in a mock church that's part of their enclosure.

Steve Nichols built a Wild West themed enclosure just four weeks ago, and says the animals love it. Staff thought the meerkats were just testing each of the buildings out until they looked inside the church and saw the babies, despite not even knowing the female was pregnant.

Tight security ahead of a Royal visit in Boston

Princess Anne Credit: Calendar

Her Royal Highness the Princess Royal is to visit St Botolph's Church in Boston today to formally open its new Community and Visitor facilities and to view progress on the restoration of the North Face of the Tower.

After driving through the Market Place she will arrive at the north door of the church at 3.40pm where she will attend a short service of dedication led by the Bishop of Lincoln, tour the new facilities, unveil a plaque, and view the restoration work underway on the north face of the tower.

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Church painting restoration

St George's Church Credit: Doncaster Coucnil

A painting of St George's Church in Doncaster is going to be conserved.

It was created by local artist James Farrington in 1896, 30 years after the church was completed.

Due its condition the public have not been able to view the painting for many years, but the Woodmansterne Art Conservation award of just £5,000 will help it be restored. It will then go on display at Doncaster Museum and Art Gallery.

VAT help "doesn't go far enough"

The Government has agreed extra money to ease concerns about VAT being added to church repairs.

It says it cannot maintain zero rated VAT for alterations, but a grant has been set up to assist with repair work.

However, the Dean of Wakefield's wife, Pamela Greener, says the £30 million extra a year does not go far enough. She wants the church to join with other heritage buildings to keep the campaign for zero rating on all Big Society buildings, not just church or other faith buildings.

The plan to charge VAT on alterations to listed buildings has brought Wakefield Cathedral's regeneration scheme into serious jeopardy.

It would be churlish not to welcome the government's increased funding following their shock budget tax raid on the nation's heritage. At Wakefield Cathedralwe are in agony with worry over this issue and volunteer groups up and down the land felt similarly let down by the budget.

Churches form an important part of the nation's heritage, but they don't have amonopoly over it. This proposal offers short term church relief en route to long termchurch uncertainty accompanied by immediate additional expense for everyone else.

– Pamela Greener, Wakefield Cathedral
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