St John The Baptist Church is holding an open day on Saturday to raise money to replace lead that was stolen on Thursday, February 7.
Ann Reynolds, a member of the Parochial Church Council, is inviting the public to the church in Tilsworth Road, Stanbridge, on Saturday, April 27, from 11am till 4pm for an open day, to help collect funds to repair the building.
Reverend Kaushal David, Vicar of St John the Baptist Church, said: “It seemed that the thieves were disturbed whilst on the job in the early hours of the morning. They had left in a hurry leaving a ladder and a wheel barrow behind. They had entered church yard from the North Eastern gate on Tilsworth road. There must have been a vehicle parked on the road large enough for the amount of Lead – 75% of the roof. The builder opposite was very helpful, he helped secure the roof against water damage that afternoon and almost as he was finishing, the weather turned stormy again.
“I have received many a notes of sympathy from the village and they are all shocked - whether regular at church, or not. People of Stanbridge past and present have rallied and many have made donations.
“Our estimate is that it will cost approximately £25000 when the job is completed with the installation of an alarm system with video monitoring. We are hoping that the open day will bring many people from the surrounding villages and the two big towns to see this beautiful building and be inspired to contribute to preserving of the church here.
“We are grateful to the financial support from ‘Beds and Herts Historic Churches Trust’ that has already encouraged us with a grant towards the alarm system.”
On the open day there will be photos of the church and the village on display and there will also church archives and registers available, some dating back to the 1700s.
Ann said: “Everyone is welcome to come and see this beautiful 13th Century Church and discover the history.
“There will be no entry fee but any donations will go towards the cost or replacing the lead stolen from our Church roof. It’s disgusting that someone has stolen the lead roof.”
Bedfordshire Police carried out an investigation into the theft, a spokesperson for the force said: “We were called at approximately 1.20pm to a report of a theft of a lead roof in the St John’s The Baptist Church in Tilsworth Road, Stanbridge.
“Officers attended and a number of lines of enquiry have been carried out. The crime has been filed pending further information coming to light.”
Anyone with information can call 101 quoting reference 40/7646/19.
To make a donation visit: www.tstbenefice.org/giving/