Church launches ambitious £200,000 appeal for urgent repairs
- Credit: Mary Carden
Members of the congregation at a Grade I-listed church have launched an appeal to raise £200,000 for urgent repairs.
The Parish Church of Saint Bartholomew in Brisley, between Dereham and Fakenham, remains in desperate need of renovation.
In recent months, the south aisle roof at St Bart's almost completely collapsed.
It is feared the building's magnificent interior - including unique wall paintings - could suffer serious harm from rainwater and rising damp.
Mary Carden, archivist at the church, said: "It is a quite remarkable building, and it has a large amount of artefacts inside.
"The problem is that the roof has caused us an awful lot of damage, such as rain water running down the walls.
"We got a grant to do a repair job but, unfortunately, once we uncovered it the whole thing collapsed.
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"The builder and architect were there for quite a long time putting it back together, but it has definitely got to be replaced."
To prevent further damage, the church has set in motion an appeal to pay for a new south aisle roof, drainage and the installation of an efficient soakaway.
It won't come cheap, however.
Parishioners must raise an eye-watering £200,000 for the vision to become a reality.
But a promising start has been made to their efforts, with villagers raising £10,500 themselves and obtaining a £15,000 grant from the Norfolk Churches Trust - one of the largest ever given out by the charity.
While acknowledging the seismic task of having to make another £180,000, Mrs Carden said she was hopeful of a positive outcome.
She added: "For a village of about 300 residents to raise more than £10,000 is quite phenomenal. People really do care because the church is iconic and has got a lot of heritage and character to it.
"Not everyone goes to church anymore, but people appreciate it for what it is and it means a lot to them. And after all, churches are there when you need them.
"The Brisley Bell pub put a pound on top of each bill in March to help us, so we will have a little bit more from them, and we are going to write to local businesses as well.
"We are hopeful we will get to our target."