Church makes watertight case for its new roof

LEAK-FREE Churchwarden Richard Andrews and Southern Flat and Pitched Roofing managing director Shaun O'Mara in front of St Mary's Church in the grounds of Portchester Castle. Picture: Allan Hutchings (131656-170)
LEAK-FREE Churchwarden Richard Andrews and Southern Flat and Pitched Roofing managing director Shaun O'Mara in front of St Mary's Church in the grounds of Portchester Castle. Picture: Allan Hutchings (131656-170)
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STAFF at a church would like to thank everyone who has helped raise more than £80,000 to fix its roof.

St Mary’s Church, in the grounds of Portchester Castle, is once more leak-proof thanks to the efforts of the local community.

Since the roof campaign began in 2000 there have been numerous fundraising events, from quiz nights at the nearby Cormorant pub to concerts, and the selling of personalised roof tiles, to help them hit the target.

Church warden Richard Andrews said: ‘This has been a large community effort and we want to say thank you to them and let them know that the work has been completed and we’re watertight again.

‘So many people have contributed, but we wanted to get it all finished as you can only ask people to give so much.

‘We’re very pleased with the work that’s been done, and it’s good to get it all sorted out for our new vicar.’

Reverend Ian Meredith has recently arrived from Ayr in Scotland, replacing Reverend Charlie Allen.

He said: ‘I’m loving it here, I’m finding Portchester a very friendly community and there are a lot of organisations and societies.

‘And it’s nice to have the roof fixed, but with these very old buildings there’s always something that needs doing.’

The Grade I listed building dates back to the 12th century.

The work was carried out by Hilsea-based company Southern Flat and Pitched Roofing Ltd.

Managing director Shaun O’Mara said: ‘It was about two-thirds of the roof we took off and redid.

‘In the winter with the snow it was a bit of a challenge, but we’ve finished it, and it’s very satisfying. I’m from Portchester and we’re based in Portsmouth, so we gave them a bit of a discount as well.

We do a fair bit of historical work, it’s something we have the skills to do – we recently did the work on the Square Tower in Old Portsmouth.’

The church’s next project is to give an area inside the main building known as the sanctuary an overhaul.

The church is open daily from 9am to 6pm during the summer.