Race against time for cash

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St Mary’s Church in Long Sutton is racing against time to raise £10,000-plus to repair the church tower.

Father Jonathan Sibley said rotten window shutters were removed from the tower by abseiling builders last year, but now birds are getting in and debris has accumulated.

He said: “If it’s not stopped, this will affect the bells and clocks and all of us in the parish – so something must be done this year to replace the shutters. It’s a very important tower with very important bells.”

So far there is £1,000 in the kitty, including £700 raised from the St Thomas’s Fair and a sponsored cycle ride organised by Father Jonathan’s son, Peter.

St Mary’s wooden and leaded spire was built and completed in 1200. The shutters are there to keep out the elements, birds and debris.

When workmen removed the rotten shutters it was discovered that the original Norman shutters were still in place and those were taken to the bell tower.

Francis Prior, from Channel 4’s Time Team, said the discovery was important and he will be giving a talk about the shutters at the church with Maisie Taylor on November 9 to raise money for the tower repairs. The talk will include information about the TV programme.