Storm-damaged church needs backing

Folkingham residents are being asked for help to rebuild the village church after more than £100,000 damage was caused by high winds two weeks ago.

The sudden storm which hit the area on January 18 tore two huge stone pinnacles from the roof of St Andrew's church in West Street, causing one of the 6ft ornaments to fall through the roof into the nave below.

A ton of stonework fell more than 80ft and although no-one was in the church at the time, a huge amount of damage has been caused to the interior of the church.

Insurance policies are expected to cover most of the damage but a meeting has now been called to cover an expected shortfall.

The Rev Charlie Robertson said: "It looks like a bomb has hit the place to be honest, which of course in a way it has.

"That much stone falling from that height causes some serious damage.

"Most of the structural work will be covered by insurance but there has been so much damage elsewhere in the church that we will be needing a lot more more money."

As well as the damage caused by wind to the top of the church, gravestones and trees have been knocked over while a 30ft wide section of wall was also blown flat in the graveyard.

Church authorities have already appointed an architect to take care of the work needed to restore the structure of the building and the church is expected to open today after temporary repairs were carried out earlier in the week.

The Rev Robertson said: "Thankfully we are back open for business. Unfortunately we did have to move one Christening but the church has now been made safe which is excellent news.

"We expect serious work to start soon but first the tower needs checking to see if it has sustained any serious damage.

"Obviously we are now in need of a little help from the village and the church community in general. A meeting has been called on February 22 at the village hall just to update the people of Folkingham.

"We hope that together we can get the church back up and running as before."

The village hall meeting begins at 7.30pm and anyone wishing to make a donation to church funds can call the Rev Robertson on 01529 497617.