A VILLAGE church has won its five-year battle for funding to save it from ruin.

SAVED: A village church has won its five-year battle for funding to save it from ruin.

All Saints Church in Grafham was rejected for English Heritage cash seven years ago because the organisation did not think the structural problems with the church's nave were serious enough. But when churchwarden Hazel Powell commissioned an architect to look again at the building, he found large sections of the roof needed repairing, and that repairs to rainwater drainage needed to be carried out.

Temporary repairs to the roof have been carried out but it is in danger of letting in water. Some of the old tiles have also slipped and some of the timber work is rotten.

Several inspections later, English Heritage finally agreed to place the 850-year church on its Buildings At Risk register, which meant that it qualified for a £117,000 grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Mrs Powell said: "We are absolutely delighted. We have just been so lucky. In a way it has brought the village together. Although we have a small congregation, everyone wants the church to remain because it is quite focus for the village. The building is part of the village heritage and helps record the village's history. We cannot be the generation that lets a building with this amount of history fall into decay."

However there is still much work to be done - the Heritage Lottery Fund has only provided part of the money, meaning fundraising just be done to meet to total £180,000 cost.

"Although Grafham is a small village of 250 houses and 650 people, through village fundraising events the Save All Saints has succeeded in raising some £16,000," Mrs Powell said.

The work is due to be completed by 2014.