RELIGIOUS leaders wanting to repair a historic church targeted by lead thieves have had their prayers answered thanks to a sizeable grant.
St Wilfrid’s Church in Hickleton has been badly damaged several times in the last four years after the removal of the valuable material from its roof, leaving the building open to the elements.
But now, thanks to a £9,131 grant from Banks Renewables, via its Banks Community Fund, the damage has been repaired making the church fully weatherproof once again.
Michael Woodland, fabric manager for the Hickleton Parochial Church Council, said: “Not only had the repeated thefts had a very visible impact on the building, but they’d also caused the amount of insurance cover we were able to obtain to drop very sharply, meaning we weren’t able to cover the cost of the repairs needed after the latest theft.
“The building had suffered significant interior and exterior damage, and while we were able to put sheeting across the gaps in the roof as a temporary measure, this would be blown out of place by any strong wind, leaving us at the mercy of the elements once again.
“The funding Banks provided has been a lifesaver – we’d managed to raise some money, but fundraising is a difficult task in the present economic climate, and we couldn’t have undertaken this work without Banks’ help, so we’re extremely grateful for their invaluable support.”
Four and a half tonnes of lead was taken in the most recent incident and a large area of the slate roof was ripped off during the theft. Water leaking through holes left in the roof caused substantial damage to the internal fabric and electrical circuits in the 800 year-old building.
Hickleton Parochial Church Council was left facing a large bill their insurance company would not cover.
Local firm Fenton and Fenton was appointed to carry out the repair work.