Elmswell church roof repairs close to fundraising target
A church severely damaged by rain after thieves stripped the roof of lead is close to hitting its fundraising target to carry out interior repairs.
Thieves removed the lead slates and damaged masonry at St John's in Elmswell, Suffolk, in November.
Rain then got in and accelerated damage to the chancel ceiling, with plaster falling down on to pews.
A quote of £34,000 has been made to repair the ceiling, and just under £30,000 has been donated so far.
Rev Peter Goodridge said the replacement of the £40,000 lead roof should be covered by insurance, but it requires approval from Heritage England as the church is planning to use stainless steel, which is less valuable to thieves than lead.
Repair work to the chancel was originally estimated at about £60,000, but one company says it can do it for the lower figure.
Mr Goodridge said: "It's beginning to look achievable now we've had the quote, which is significantly less than the original estimate.
"I feel no anger, just sadness that people are so obsessed with making a few pounds that they cause so much damage to a historic building and the community.
"It's frustrating, but with my faith I'm hopeful we'll end up with something better than we started with."
Roofing felt, usually used on sheds and outbuildings, was put on the church as a temporary measure.
The rector said bats roosted in the roof and any repair work needed to be finished before the breeding season for the protected mammals, which starts in April.