Metal theft setback for church project

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A CHURCH undergoing major repair work has been struck by metal thieves.

The Friends of St Margaret’s Church in Crick have been fundraising for years to help pay for major repairs to the village church.

Work is well underway on the building to the point where some of the scaffolding is beginning to be taken down.

But on Thursday night last week the historic building was hit by metal thieves.

Sue Milne, one of the friends, said: “We think it might have been lead flashing paid for by the parochial church council to make sure the good parts of the roof didn’t suffer damage.

“I think that cost between £4,000 and £6,000 originally.

“Unfortunately, in getting to the lead the thieves did significant damage to one of the copper roofs.

“They stuffed the metal into one of the wheelie bins and then dragged it out through the back gate so few people would hear or see them.

“We don’t know how much that is going to cost to repair.

“I’ve heard the insurance firm is capping payouts for metal thefts from churches to £5,000 because there are just so many.

“It’s just another setback for us.

“First our original builder went bust, then we found we couldn’t claim the VAT back on the work, and now this. It’s just been one issue after the next.

“It is frustrating. We did everything right – we had Smartwater on the metal so it can be traced, and we had signs up telling people that.

“I think whoever it was saw the building work was coming along and that the scaffolding would be coming down and thought ‘it’s now or never’.

“We think we’re now about £13,000 or £14,000 short of the total.”

The repairs to the stonework and tower are estimated to cost £500,000. The church also had its organ restored at a cost of £150,000.

The friends are continuing their fundraising efforts on Saturday.

Between 10am and noon they are holding a market at the church with various stalls, and a visit from Crick resident and Olympic torch bearer Ollie Cartwright.

Then in September there will be a pudding night – a simple healthy meal followed by as many puddings as you can eat. Tickets for that can be booked on 01788 822415 or 01788 824670.