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Community rallies to aid of church targeted by thieves




St John's Church, The Rectory, Church Rd, Elmswell,'Reverend Peter Goodridge after vandalism and lead theft at the church.'Picture Mark Westley
St John's Church, The Rectory, Church Rd, Elmswell,'Reverend Peter Goodridge after vandalism and lead theft at the church.'Picture Mark Westley

A community has rallied round a church which was left badly damaged following a lead theft in November.

About £30,000 has been raised through grants from organisations and donations from members of the community to restore St John’s Church to its former glory.

The Elmswell church’s interior suffered £35,000 worth of damage after the roof was stripped of lead during the night of November 10.

It caused debris and rain water to wreak havoc inside the building and to the historic chancel ceiling.

The Rev Peter Goodridge said: “The process is a slow one because it’s a large amount of money. But we’ve had lots of support and the community have generously donated money in order to speed things up.”

Indoor repairs are expected to start soon and should be completed by April.

The cost of the roof should be covered by insurance, but Mr Goodridge has put in a request that the new roof is made of stainless steel intead of lead to prevent thieves targeting the church in the future, meaning that roof repairs could take longer.

“The last thing I want is to come to the church in a few years and find that this has happened all over again,” he said.

But Mr Goodridge added that he hoped the thieves will see the error in their ways and change for the better.

“I’ve got no anger but I am sad that people could do this to a place of worship andsuch a historic building. The few pounds they got for the lead has caused ten times the amount of damage to the church which is really sad,” he said.



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