Last week I spent two gorgeous autumn mornings in St Wulframs: the first on Monday for the funeral of my friend Ian Smith and the second on Sunday for the Service of Remembrance. Both times there were hundreds of people in the pews. Both times St Wulfram's echoed to the sound of some of our most stirring hymns. And both times I found myself thinking about St Wulfram's spire and the way in which it defines the character of Grantham for residents and visitors alike. Over the years, I have had plenty of disagreements with Simon Jenkins, the chairman of the National Trust.
But when in his essential book, England's Thousand Best Churches, he called the spire of St Wulfram's "the finest steeple in England", he spoke nothing but the truth. It is this dizzying spire that lifts the eyes of Grantham people up out of the valley in which the town sits to the broad Lincolnshire skies beyond. It is this monument to 14th Century ambition and devotion which inspires everyone who wants the town to be bold and to aim high in the 21st Century.
It is because the spire of St Wulfram's is a symbol of everything great about Grantham's past and because it points the way towards the town's future, that we must all roll up our sleeves to help raise the £600,000 needed to repair and preserve it. As the local MP, I will happily do my bit. And I know that all of the Grantham Journal's readers will do the same. St Wulfram's spire is the central point in the landscape of our lives. We must make sure that the same will be true for the people of Grantham a thousand years after we've gone.