An SOS plea to the residents of Newhaven has been launched by a church congregation in a bid to help repair a 900-year-old spire.
Around £50,000 is needed to retile the spire of Newhaven’s oldest building, St Michael’s Church, which was built in the 12th century by the monks of Lewes Priory in 1120.
About 10,000 wooden tiles, known as shingles or shakes, need replacing at a cost of £5 each. The repair bill is beyond the sum the congregation can raise but they said the building is such a focal point that it is hoped the town will rally round.
Rev Martin Miller, the Rector of St Michael’s, said: “We really need the church to be fit for purpose in the 21st century. The spire is weather-beaten by sun and rain and frost, and buffeted by coastal storms every year.
“We lost quite a few shingles last winter, and if we get any severe storms this year, we fear they will begin to unravel much more quickly. The shingles have been patched up in the past, but now we need a complete replacement. If we do nothing, then more and more water will get into the tower and it will also start to deteriorate.
“Parishoners have already started fundraising events and making financial contributions, and we hope to be able to apply for grants towards some of the cost but we are launching an appeal to raise between £5,000 and £10,000 in the Newhaven area. To do this we do need to appeal to the community at large for help.”
To make a donation send cheques (payable to St Michael’s Church) to Rev Martin Miller, 36 Second Avenue, Newhaven BN9 9HN.