A nasty financial shock awaited Windsor's Rector Reverend Ainsley Swift and his team when repair work on the parish church's north east buttress revealed massive damage that rocketed the expected bill from £30,000 to £60,000.

Generous supporters of the church and the Parochial Church Council had already come up with the initial £30,000, following the discovery of cracks in the buttress. Netting had had to be put up to protect against falling stones.

Mr Swift said: "Unfortunately now the work has begun we have discovered that the damage to the brick and stone work is worse than originally thought and will require significantly more funds to complete this essential work.

"The cost of repairs will be at least £60,000 and may well increase if further decay is discovered."

The problem has been largely created by two redundant flues which were discovered behind the damaged brickwork.

At some point rubble had been thrown into them and the long term effect has been disastrous.

Mr Swift said: "We had hoped we could use mortar to restabalise the brickwork but the whole integrity of the structure on that corner has been undermined."

To add to the concern the church's legendary Hunter organ inside the church is situated only yards from the damaged brickwork and could be seriously damaged if any water got in.

To avoid this risk repair work has already started. It will take 10 weeks and should be finished before winter sets in.

Mr Swift said: "Unfortunately the parish and the Parochial Church Council have raided their piggy banks to cover the £30,000. So are having to look for funding from further afield."

Over the years the church has held several high profile fund raising campaigns.

Supporters raised thousands of pounds about 15 years ago to clean and restore the 17th century Last Supper painting which hangs in the church - while more recently thousands was raised to repair the spire.

Donations by cheque towards the latest fund raising campaign should be sent to the Churchwarden, Windsor Parish Church, 1 Errington Drive, Windsor SL4 5EG - gift aid envelopes are available in the church.