Village church given £39K after las year’s lead thefts
St Bartholomew’s Church, Groton will benefit from up to £39,000 to help fund urgent roof repairs following last October’s theft of lead.
Lead was stolen from the chancel, north aisle and organ chamber roofs in October 2, last year.
Groton Parochial Church Council (Groton PCC) successfully applied for the grant through the Government-funded Listed Places of Worship: Roof Repair Fund.
The local community was left shocked when Groton became the 12th Suffolk church to be the victim of lead theft last autumn.
A spokesman for the church said: “This substantial grant will enable us to restore the roof and secure the future of this Grade I listed building, which is valued by the whole village and has historic links to New England in the USA.
“It means that we can also now proceed with plans to instal kitchen facilities under the tower and to provide a toilet, both of which will enable us to make the church more ‘user-friendly’ and available for wider community use, as well as regular worship.”
David Lamming, PCC secretary, who led the grant application, added: “This is great news, in response to which the whole Groton community will rejoice.
“The lead theft, coming only three months after the happy visit to Groton in June 2015 by US ambassador Matthew Winthrop Barzun put a damper on what had been a good year for the parish. Now, we can all lift our spirits again.
“As well as thanking the Government for making this money available to churches, I want to thank our local MP, James Cartlidge who, with his Suffolk colleagues, campaigned on behalf of those churches in the county that had suffered lead theft.”
Ambassador Winthrop is the direct descendant of former Lord of the Manor of Groton and pilgrim father, John Winthrop.
South Suffolk MP James Cartlidge said: “As a new MP I found it heart-breaking to hear about so many cases of churches in Suffolk being targeted by lead thieves.
“These beautiful buildings are at the heart of our communities and were ransacked for purely nefarious reasons.
“I began looking for ways in which I could support the churches in South Suffolk who had suffered at the hands of these criminals and was disappointed to discover that the Government funded Listed Places of Worship Roof Repair Fund scheme did not cover cases of theft.
“I had seen first-hand how valuable the funding had been as the church in my home village of Assington had been one of the lucky recipients in the first round of funding.
“As such, working with the other Suffolk MPs, I raised the matter with the Department of Culture, Media and Sport who were very accommodating in amending the rules in time for the latest round of funding.”