THE golden cockerel once again stands proudly upon the roof of Bicester's best known church after major restoration work was completed ahead of Remembrance Sunday.

The weathervane was returned to its former glory as part of the £246,000 renovation of the 12th century Grade I-listed church of St Edburg's in the heart of the town.

The return of the cockerel marked the end of work, which started in June, and saw scaffolding covering the 15th century tower for months.

Work to remove the scaffolding began this week, allowing the church to look its best for tomorrow's Remembrance Sunday service.

Churchwarden, Matthew Clements, said: "Naturally, I feel very relieved that we have completed in time for the Remembrance Service.

"However, I also have a huge sense of achievement at having been part of the team that has successfully delivered this project and we all share that sense of satisfaction of achieving something that will last."

The church was awarded cash from the Heritage Lottery Fund for restoration of its structure, parts of which date back 900 years.

The main repairs and renovation works allowed the golden cockerel to be re-gilded with three layers of gold leaf – each of them one-thousandth of an inch thick.

The main work concentrated on replacing and repairing damaged stone on the tower.

Repairs were also carried out to the north porch, with some walls repointed.

Coping stones and string courses were severely eroded in a number of places, which meant dampness was getting into the walls and damaging the structure.

Church staff said the parapet wall on the north porch was dangerous. It has been completely rebuilt with replacement stone.

Mr Clements added: "Work like this on the church is aimed at conserving and restoring the structure so that it is still here for future generations in hundreds of years time, as opposed to work on one's house where one's timeframe is much shorter.

"We are most grateful to the Heritage Lottery Fund, which has paid for the work.

"This is the fifth major project completed at St Edburg's since 2009, and, in fact, is the fourth in my five-and-a-half years as churchwarden. It has been a busy time and I need a rest."

Tomorrow's Remembrance Sunday service will begin at St Edburg's Church from 10.30am.

All of the town's dignitaries will join the armed forces and families to pay tribute to fallen soldiers and lay wreaths at the war memorial.

The ceremony will be followed by a church service.