£400,000 target – or church roof will rot away
VILLAGERS are hoping a musical fundraiser will help raise the roof on ambitions to save their medieval church from abandonment.
The Friends of St James Church in Westerleigh have to raise £400,000 to re-tile the roof of their Grade I listed place of worship or face it rotting into disrepair.
On Saturday, May 12 the 13th Century church will be hosting the Cantanti Choir and Wind Band in a concert to raise money for the restoration project.
A 2009 survey of the 700-year-old church of St James the Great found that the roof gully between aisles leaks and must be replaced before the roof becomes unsafe.
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The first stage of the work in the summer of 2011 was to investigate the full extent of the work required but this resulted in a recommendation to re-tile the whole roof, doubling the size of the project.
Patrick Mills, 66, is church warden of St James Church and said: "We have two options; which is to abandon the church and deconsecrate it or we can fix it. What we cannot do is leave it to rot a few more years."
The Friends of St James was set up in June 2010 in order to galvanise the local community to help support the restoration of the monument to medieval architecture. Mr Mills said: "Where the friends come in is the grants are all subject to getting a lot of community support. We have to show that the community can raise a certain portion of the money."
Over the past two years significant offers of grants have been secured, including one of the largest grants in the South West from English Heritage and the Heritage Lottery Fund of £160,000. But now the community is coming together to make sure they do their bit to secure the future for their church.
For tickets call 01454 318157.