NEARLY £5,000 was raised by volunteers for a Huntingdonshire church which suffered extensive damage after its roof was stripped of lead three weeks ago.

NEARLY £5,000 was raised by volunteers for a Huntingdonshire church which suffered extensive damage after its roof was stripped of lead three weeks ago.

Visitors helped to raise £4,700 for Godmanchester Parish Church at a harvest festival and gift day on Saturday.

The event saw volunteers from across the community giving their time and talents during a non-stop programme of live events, which including singing, poetry reading and drama.

There were also a number of exhibitions on knitting, calligraphy, picture framing, sugar craft, card making, painting, pottery and bookbinding. Chamber choir Sedici performed an evening concert, followed on Sunday with the traditional harvest service.

Organiser John Hoile said: "We had a lot more people in than we were expecting. We 
had a lot of talented people exhibiting in the church."

All funds raised by the event will be used to cover the church's running costs and for roof repairs needed after five long sheets of lead were stolen from the chancel roof, causing flooding and damage to the choir stalls.

Discussions are also under way to install a £7,000 infra-red system at the church to deter thieves. In addition the church has £6,000 monthly running costs to cover and is continuing to pay for re-leading of the north roof earlier this year.

Church treasurer Colin Thirlwall said: "We wanted to get the town involved to show what the church is like. The vicar started the display of talents, but organisers John and Gill Hoile pushed this year to make it the thing it was."

n Pictured are members of the friends of Godmanchester Parish Church Jean Miller and John Bathurst Hoile with traditional harvest gifts.

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