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Church appeal hits the roof

DELIGHTED fundraisers have soared into six figures in their quest for a new roof at Pagham’s parish church.


The first anniversary of the official launch of the Raise the Roof appeal at St Thomas a’Becket Church has seen the amount raised reach £110,000.


The church’s vicar, the Rev Mark Eminson, said: “I must say a huge ‘thank you’ to all those who have donated so generously, either directly or through various events.


“I am also grateful to local schools and other organisations, grant-making bodies and those who have left us a legacy in their will.


“It is a varied and amazing team effort, a lovely sign of what a strong community we are in Pagham and gratifying – as well as humbling – to see the esteem in which the parish church is held.”


It was a year ago last night that Mr Eminson officially launched the appeal in the Grade I-listed church, which dates back some 800 years.


The campaign is believed to the biggest which the church has staged.


It necessary because the latest quinquennial survey of the church last year saw the number of tiles which were falling down the roof was increasing. This led to safety rails being put up around the roof to stop the tiles falling off and injuring people.


Thousands of tiles need replacing on the main chancel roof and above the side aisles.


The survey last summer prompted the start of fundraising three months before the official launch of the appeal.


Mr Eminson stressed the need for fundraising to carry on because of the continuing deterioration of the condition of the roof.


Some £200,000 more had to be raised to ensure all the faults could be repaired.


“Already, we are seeing the first signs externally on the roof of ominous gaps,” he warned.


“So, Raise the Roof continues into 2018 and we trust that God will provide for His house in Pagham in all sorts of – and sometimes unexpected – ways.


“Among other events, we are planning a bingo night in February, our annual art exhibition in May and our summer fair in July.”


A history of Pagham weddings was also being planned for September 22 next year for a unique exhibition of ceremonies from the past.


“This will be a chance to gather together Pagham wedding memorabilia down the decades. So, anyone whose parents or grandparents were marred in the church is welcome to get in touch with us,” said Mr Eminson.


Further applications for grants had also been made to various bodies, he added. These included the national lottery and other heritage organisations to help to ensure the appeal’s target was reached.

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