CAMPAIGNERS hoping to repair a Denby church roof are set to host a key fundraising concert and flower festival this weekend.
Thieves struck at St Mary’s Church five times between February and August last year, leaving a £45,000 repair bill after insurers said they would only pay out £5,000.
And the cost of protecting the grade I listed building in the meantime with felt has cut into the fundraising efforts, as well as increasing the heating bill, and now the church is appealing to generous donors for help.
Church warden Christine Davies said: “The lead needs to be replaced and we’re hoping to put an alternative material to lead on – possibly stainless steel. Dioceses up and down the country have been hit by lead thefts and insurers have put a limit on what can be claimed for every 12 months.
“Without grant aid or people being generous we’re struggling. Our congregation is a maximum of 45 on a Sunday, so it’s always down to the same few people. But there’s only so much you can ask people to give.”
Recently thieves tried to steal lead flashing – which is the only lead left on the roof.
Former warden Barbara Flounders said: “Things like this are very distressing for the congregation to think that people can stoop as low as to steal lead from churches.”
An operation targeting the theft of scrap metal got under way in Derbyshire last week. Operation Calanthia has been set up to tackle the growing problem of copper, lead, iron and steel theft, and will run until the end of the year. Superintendent Debbie Mathews, who is leading the initiative, said: “Churches are often targeted for lead but the price someone will received for the lead taken will bear no comparison to the repair costs the church will face.
Denby church is hosting Keele University Concert Band for a fundraising show on Friday, at 7.30pm. Tickets, which can be bought on the door, cost £6 and £4 for concessions and include refreshments. A free flower festival is set for the weekend. If you would like to contribute call Christine on 01332 780661.