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Brandon church's roof SOS

PUBLISHED: 12:30 10 July 2009 | UPDATED: 21:36 07 July 2010

Architect Ashley Courtney examines one of the angel hammer beams, dated 1495, which needs restoring.

Architect Ashley Courtney examines one of the angel hammer beams, dated 1495, which needs restoring.

A community has made an urgent appeal to save a medieval Norfolk church after severe structural roof problems were discovered during a repair project.

A community has made an urgent appeal to save a medieval Norfolk church after severe structural roof problems were discovered during a repair project.

Works to fix the rotting roof of the listed St Mary's Church at Feltwell, near Brandon, began in April following the success of an almost £200,000 fundraising target.

But officials from the 600-year-old building spoke of their concern last week after it emerged that they needed another £40,000 to complete the works and restore two angel carved roof trusses.

Contractors uncovered the additional damage to the Grade I listed church two weeks ago, which will add another two months to the repair programme.

The project, which was funded by a £164,000 grant from English Heritage, £10,000 from the Norfolk Churches Trust, and £13,000 from the Friends of St Mary's, came after a piece of timber almost fell on a bride, groom and minister during a wedding service in 2007. Water damage and the presence of the death watch beetle was blamed for the complication.

Rev Joan Horan, Priest in Charge at St Mary's Church, said she hoped that the local community could rise to challenge to fund another £40,000 because there were no further grants available.

“We have had such fantastic financial support over the last few years from parishioners and local community. The consequences of not getting this extra money could put the whole project at risk - not doing the timber work is not a good option, if we are then putting a new roof over the rotten timbers.”

“This roof, with its medieval angels, is historically significant. We need to ensure that the angels are restored to preserve the character of this significant Grade I listed building. Any donation, large or small, will be very welcome,” she said.

The roof repair project, coordinated by Cambridge-based architects Freeland Rees Roberts, had been due for completion in August, but has been cast into doubt following news of the £40,000 shortfall.

People can support the appeal by writing a cheque to Feltwell PCC to 3 Barretts Lane, Feltwell, Norfolk, IP26 4AP, or by visiting www.friendsofstmarysfeltwell.co.uk.

A country music tribute to Jim Reeves will be held on Saturday from 7.30pm at Porter's Barn, Old Methwold Road, Feltwell, to help with funds. Tickets are £5 in advance, £6 on the door and are available from Chris Parker on 01842 827152.

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