A Portland church which fell into disrepair could be brought back to life as a wedding venue.

Businessman Gary Nash bought St Peter's Church in Grove Road eight months ago and he is now applying for a licence so couples can legally tie the knot there.

A wedding blessing for his daughter Carla Nash and husband James Smith was held inside the church on Saturday after their marriage at Weymouth Register Office.

Mr Nash, 45, who owns the Royal Portland Arms in Fortuneswell, hopes this has heralded a new era for St Peter's.

He said: "I am applying to get the church re-licensed so people can get married there.

"I know about six or eight couples who would like their wedding there. It could bring in people from across the country who want to get married in a Portland church but aren't allowed to because they don't live there.

"The building is unique with a lot of history and could never be replaced. There aren't many places like Portland that have such beautiful views and are so peaceful.

"My daughter wanted to have her wedding there but we couldn't get the licence in time so had a blessing there instead."

St Peter's was built in the 1870s and served the community and inmates at the Young Offenders Institution for more than a century.

Over the last decade, regular services were stopped and the building fell into disrepair through lack of use.

Mr Nash said he bought the church from the Home Office and Church Commission for an undisclosed fee in December last year.

He says the gardens have recently been restored and toilets have been installed in a room adjoining the church.

Mr Nash wants community groups and clubs to make use of St Peter's.

He said: "It's up to people to come forward with suggestions about how they want to use the church."

He added that he was in discussions with English Heritage over the future of military bunkers near the Verne Prison on Portland, which he bought in 2001.