Non-believer gives £20k to help church

Peter Andrews at All Saints Church, Braunston
Peter Andrews at All Saints Church, Braunston

A Braunston man who does not believe in God has donated £20,000 in a bid to help restore the village church.

Peter Andrews has given the funds to the £250,000 appeal to restore All Saints Church in the village which has bought the total raised to £50,000.

“So far as I am concerned, the church is a charity like any other which does good work, and I do support a lot of charities.

“I feel very happy for people who are Christians. It just doesn’t do anything for me anymore, but I recognise what it does for a lot of other people.”

He sees preserving the fine Grade II Listed building that is All Saints’ Braunston as a quite different issue, and one still worthy of his support.

The former maths and physics teacher lives in a modest two-bedroom flat in Brindley Quays.

So it is all the more remarkable that he should have become such a major benefactor. It’s not as though he is dishing out thousands of pounds in all directions to every charity that takes his fancy.

His other donations have, for the most part, been limited to a few pounds here, a few more pounds there. But the appeal to save All Saints’ Church was different.

A clue to the inspiration behind his actions may be in the view from his sitting room window. It takes in the marina and the old windmill and is crowned by the church spire.

He clearly loves fine old buildings – yet the church at Braunston is special to him, as it is to so many other people.

His greatest sadness is that others in the village with far more money than he has have not so far come forward to support the appeal with significant donations of their own.

The sale of pens and mugs and concert tickets have all helped along the way. But no significant single contributions from local businesses or other individuals have been forthcoming.

Peter said: “Buildings are a part of our heritage and people do enjoy them just as people do enjoy seeing this church – partly because they can see it for many miles around.

“It is, after all, the Cathedral of the canals, and if people who are not churchgoers see it as part of our heritage, then surely it is worth supporting”.

For Peter, the biggest attraction is being a worthwhile cause, it’s a local charity, with finite and achievable goals. When work began on repairing stonework around the windows, he could actually see his money being put to good and measurable use.

His hope now is that others in the village will follow his lead. He’s not suggesting that everyone could but all it would take is just a few like-minded people who share his vision.

He added: “Maybe no one will give £20,000. But if twenty people gave just £1,000, or if a few people gave four or five thousand each, it would at least match what I have done.”

Church vicar the Rev Sarah Brown, said: “Peter is a generous, quiet and self-effacing man who has a real heart for this place. We are really grateful for this wonderful response and hope it may inspire others too.”