Kirkby Underwood roof replaced after lead theft

The Bishop of Lincoln blessed the new roof at Kirkby Underwood. From left, church warden Gillian Andrews, the Rev Dr Lynda Pugh, the  Rt. Revd Christopher Lowson and church warden Mr Frank S Wyer
The Bishop of Lincoln blessed the new roof at Kirkby Underwood. From left, church warden Gillian Andrews, the Rev Dr Lynda Pugh, the Rt. Revd Christopher Lowson and church warden Mr Frank S Wyer
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The Bishop of Lincoln has dedicated a church roof which had to be replaced when serve damage was caused by thieves last year.

The Rt Rev Christopher Lowson visited the church of St Mary and All Saints’ in Kirkby Underwood earlier in the month to dedicate the new roof during a service of the Eucharist.

In July 2011 thieves caused £20,000 damage when they striped 36sqm of lead off the south and north nave roof.

The Parochial Church Council immediately had a temporary roof fitted to save the church building from further damage due to weather.

This summer, after all the necessary applications for planning and permission had been granted, a new nave roof was fitted, but this time not of lead but of terne coated stainless steel.

Bishop Christopher, in dedicating the new roof, also commented on the generosity of people to donate towards the cost along with the ingenuity of the idea to sponsor a square footage of the roof, with sponsors from New Zealand, Australia and the USA helping the local fundraising effort.

Parochial Church Council treasurer Anthony Andrews said: “We are really thankful for all the various donations we have received.”

“They will go a long way to reduce the final amount that it will have cost the Parochial Church Council’s funds”

The service, attended by over 40 people, was followed by mulled wine and nibbles and a chance to meet Bishop Christopher.

Five men were jailed for their part in the theft of lead from St Mary and All Saints’ and 19 other churches across Lincolnshire, Leicestershire and Nottinghamshire at Lincoln Crown Court on December 13.

The men were part of a gang of six Lithuanian nationals who caused up to £1m damage to church roofs.

Passing sentence Judge Michael Heath told the gang: “These thefts caused serious financial consequences. The overall costs to the 20 churches. I am told, is in the region of £1m.

“It is a great deal of money, it is very important and should not underestimate the distress felt by Christians at the desescration of their scared places of divine worship.

It is estimated the gang stole 70 tonnes of lead, which they sold for £70,000.