TWO historic landmarks and tourist attractions in Castle Hedingham have been given a boost of nearly £70,000 after months of lockdown hardship.

Hedingham Castle has secured grant money from the Government’s £1.57billion culture recovery fund.

The fund is giving a total of £103 million to 445 heritage sites across the country to help them through the coronavirus pandemic by helping restart vital reconstruction work and maintenance, keeping venues open and supporting those working in the sector.

It has been a tough few months for heritage sites with the lockdown forcing many of them to close to the public.

Hedingham Castle was forced to cancel numerous events, including its annual jousting and medieval crowd-pullers.

The venue was also forced to cancel many of this year’s wedding bookings which provide a vital source of income.

The lack of cash has meant many of the castle’s plans, including repairs and maintenance to the 900-year-old keep, were also postponed.

Fortunately, the castle has been able to secure a vital grant of £49,600 to help see it through the difficult winter months.

Bosses at the castle say the funding will be put to good use for essential works to the keep and making the business viable when weddings and events hopefully resume in the spring.

Owner Demetra Lindsay said: “Hedingham Castle has been here for 900 years and it has become our symbol of hope that life does go on and things will return to normal.

“The culture recovery fund will allow us to maintain the Norman keep and do crucial works to sustain its future that had to be cancelled due to lack of funds earlier in the year.

“This will not only support the castle wedding and events business, but also the whole Hedingham team and family who make this place so special.

“Not only is it one of the iconic buildings of Essex but also the workplace of many people, all of whom care for its survival, so we are very grateful indeed for this grant.”

With funding secured, the castle is also being championed by MP James Cleverly, who recently visited the tourist attraction to show his support.

He said: “A big thank you to the whole Hedingham family – all the businesses that come together to make this community work.

“I know it is incredibly tough at the moment but please, stick with it.

“We really appreciate what you do and hopefully, soon, we will be on the other side of this and things will be better.”

Colne Valley Railway have also received a whopping £20,000.

The railway was also forced to close in March and only reopened in July.

Paul Lemon, Chairman of the Colne Valley Railway Preservation Ltd. who runs the railway, said: “We are delighted to have received this grant at this time which will help us with weathering this storm and be ready for normal operation once we are able to do so.”