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Rutland church takes lead in £5M scheme to co-exist with bats

All Saints Church in Braunston has taken the lead in a scheme for bats to co-exist with churches.

The nocturnal creatures were damaging the 14th century church but now a way has been found so they can live side-by-side.

A £5m National Lottery Heritage Funded project called Bats in Churches saw All Saints take part in a trial, which has shown how this may happen, paving a way for other churches to follow.

Sue Willetts (15603045)
Sue Willetts (15603045)

Church warden Sue Willetts said All Saints had long suffered problems with bats living in the church roof and flying through gaps to get into the church where they left droppings and urine everywhere.

The problem ‘snowballed’ five years ago when an old chimney in the village collapsed and its residents moved into the church.

This led All Saints to take part in the Bats for Churches Scheme, which featured studies of the bats to see how both sides could live together.

Mrs Willetts said ecologists found gaps between the roof and the church and it was possible to block these gaps without harming the bats, which would be unlawful.

She estimates the church has received £100,000 worth of scaffolding, building, and ecological study works.

She said: “It’s fantastic. The church is now a pleasant place to be. We were having to clean every time the church was used. It got to be an intolerable situation.”

Nationally, some 102 churches are taking part in the five-year Bats in Churches Scheme, which aims to find solutions to the problems of bats messing in churches and damaging priceless artefacts.

To celebrate the successful trial, which featured two other churches nationally, a ‘Beer and Bats at Braunston’ event is planned for this Sunday, August 25, to mark International Bat Night.

Rutland’s oldest pub, The Blue Ball, Braunston, will host a free buffet from 6.30pm.

Then, experts from the Leicestershire and Rutland Bat Group will give a free talk and walk at the church from 7.45pm to 9pm. Accompanied children are welcome.

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