New Forest church vicar praises fundraising response to theft of historic lead

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St George’s Church in Damerham
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A VICAR has hailed the “amazing” response to an appeal he launched for £10,000 to help replace lead stolen from Damerham church roof over the New Year period.

It is thought the thieves may have climbed up 35ft to get to the Bell Tower at St George CoE church to take the lead from a pyramid and flat roof surrounding it.

The lead had historic inscriptions dating back to at least the 18th century and provided the church with protection from the elements.

Inscriptions on the lead date back to the 18th century

The vicar Rev. Leslie Player, who has launched a crowdfunding appeal online, revealed: “We can confirm that the thieves took the lead from the pyramid and from the flat roof surrounding it, damaging roof tiles on the main roof in the process.

“We’ll be fixing plastic sheeting as an emergency measure to reduce the risk of water penetration, and hopefully a more durable temporary covering in the near future, while we begin the long haul towards a permanent solution.”

He added: “All we can do is begin the long and costly process of repair. We don’t know what the costs will be yet, but it’s likely to run into many thousands of pounds. Just making temporary arrangements to make the roof watertight is going to be challenging.”

By Wednesday the donations had topped £3,350 and Mr Player said: “Wow! What an amazing response already to our appeal. Thank you so much for your donations. Please keep passing the message on.

“I’ve spoken with our project manager about the likely costs of repairs and with a clearer idea of what has to be done we think that it’s likely to be in the region of £10,000. It’s an enormous challenge, but I know we can do it.”

Church services are continuing as normal but the bell ringing may be affected as the ringing chamber is directly below where the lead was taken from.

The appeal is available online at www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/st-georges-roof

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