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Norfolk church ravaged by lead thieves gets first grant to help rebuild

PUBLISHED: 09:44 28 August 2015 | UPDATED: 12:57 28 August 2015

£2,000 worth of lead has been stolen from the roof of St Peter's Church, Merton. Pictured is church warden Carol Haggett. Picture: Ian Burt

£2,000 worth of lead has been stolen from the roof of St Peter's Church, Merton. Pictured is church warden Carol Haggett. Picture: Ian Burt

Archant

A historic church which has been twice ravaged by roof raiders has received a welcome boost after a heritage group donated funds towards repairing the damage.

£2,000 worth of lead has been stolen from the roof of St Peter's Church, Merton. Picture: Ian Burt£2,000 worth of lead has been stolen from the roof of St Peter's Church, Merton. Picture: Ian Burt

St Peter’s Church at Merton, near Watton, was struck by thieves overnight between Thursday, August 21 and Friday, August 22, and the small village community is facing a £25,000 bill to fix it.

Now church heritage group Round Tower Churches Society has come forward to give £500 grant to get the fundraising under way.

Stuart Bowell, chairman of the Round Tower Churches Society, said: “Norfolk has a rich heritage of round tower churches and this latest theft of lead in Breckland from a roof could cost about £25,000 to repair.

“This is the second theft of lead within the past four years from St Peter’s Church, Merton, near Watton.

“The Round Tower Churches Society will be making an immediate initial grant of £500 towards the cost of repairs.”

The society, which was set up in 1973 to safeguard the country’s heritage of distinctive round tower churches, has given grants of more than £160,000 to help with conservation and repairs.

Carole Haggett, churchwarden at St Peter’s Church, said: “Anything we are given is welcome, we are very pleased that they have identified the urgency with which we need funding.

“We are a small church in a very small village and we have to pay for things straight away including the temporary roof.

“It looks like it is going to cost at least £25,000, possibly more with labour.”

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