THE congregation of a village church is appealing for help from the public to replace parts of its roof – at a cost of £20,000.
The 163-year-old St Barnabas Church in Church Road, Swanmore, urgently needs the shingles and tiles on its roof patching up.
The original cost was expected to be around £3,500.
But in fact it works out almost six times the original estimate.
The general church funds are having to be raided to start the work – which means the church could struggle to keep going later on in the year.
Churchwarden John Sharpe said: ‘When they got the scaffolding up they found that many of the shingles had actually deteriorated.
‘We can pay the bill but our problem is that we are raiding other funds.
‘We have to make the money up over the next few months.’
Mr Sharpe added: ‘People have been very generous with the appeal.
‘The day after the news broke a couple of the congregation decided to do a car wash outside the church hall.’
Mr Sharpe is appealing for any help in raising the money.
He said: ‘It’s a beautiful church. It’s not that old. It’s a grade II listed building.
‘It’s a very pretty little country church.
‘This is an ongoing burden.
‘We have been very fortunate over the past few years and we haven’t had any large bills.
‘We know that some of the tiles are not in a very good condition.
‘We have had some response from the village as a whole because they value their beautiful church. They don’t want to see it become an eyesore.’
Proceeds from tickets sold for Swanmore Open Gardens, which will take place on Sunday, April 10, will be donated to the appeal.
Tickets cost £4 and the event runs from 1pm until 6pm.
See stbarnabas.org.uk or visit the church to make a donation.