Sir Richard Branson aiding Edinburgh church in restoration effort

The billionaire's great-grandfather was a former kirk minister at St James' Episcopal Church in Edinburgh whose achievements are said to have "bordered on the legendary Picture; SWNS
The billionaire's great-grandfather was a former kirk minister at St James' Episcopal Church in Edinburgh whose achievements are said to have "bordered on the legendary Picture; SWNS
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Sir Richard Branson is investigating how he can help a church restore a historic frieze that features his great-great-grandfather.

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St James Goldenacre Church where a portrait of Rev, Charles, J, Jenkin. Picture; SWNS

St James Goldenacre Church where a portrait of Rev, Charles, J, Jenkin. Picture; SWNS

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The fresco has features Reverend Charles Jenkins, a descendant of the founder of Virgin in the Scottish Capital, for more than 100 years.

Rev Jenkins was once rector of St James’ Church in the Goldenacre area of Edinburgh, and now the current rector is reaching out to the billionaire for assistance in restoring the painting.

After reading of the fresco’s condition last week, Sir Richard is now to have talks with the church to see what money needs to be raised to protect the artwork.

The costs of the restoration of the frieze, which was painted by notable artist William Hole, is unknown but after reading of its plight Sir Richard wants to find out more.

A Virgin management spokeswoman said: “Sir Richard is extremely proud of his Scottish roots and he was delighted to learn some years ago that his great-great-grandfather, Charles Jenkins, was an Edinburgh church minister.

“We’re speaking with Reverend Tembu Rongong to find out more about the restoration of the fresco in St James and the funds needed to restore it to its former glory.”

Tembu Rongong has overseen a series of revamps at what Edinburgh World Heritage call one of the city’s most beautiful churches but he says a major fundraising effort will be needed to restore the artwork.

He has described Sir Richard’s interest as “excellent” news.

Mr Rongong said: “We have done a huge amount of work on the roof, this year we will improve the heating and we really need to start work on the mural.

“It is a good time to start thinking about it as 2017 marks 100 years since William Hole’s death, but we have needed to make all the improvements in the right order.

“In some places the paint has come off and a significant restoration needs to be done, although we are not in the position to know exactly what that would include.

“It is an incredible work of art - it comes from the time when people were building churches and were looking to fill them with beauty and light.”

Elizabeth McCrone, head of designations for Historic Environment Scotland, said: “We wish the community well with their fundraising campaign to restore the murals in St James’ Church.

“The murals are an important part of the special interest of the building, which is listed at Category B, as they were painted by the celebrated artist William Hole.”