Plans for St Peter and St Paul's Church, Gosberton, to have new roof after lead thefts in May
Gosberton Parish Church leaders are taking steps to protect it from lead thieves with plans to re-cover its roof.
Up to 12 tonnes of lead were stripped from the Lady Chapel, North and South Aisle roofs of St Peter and St Paul's Church, in Westhorpe Road, on consecutive days in May.
An £80,000 appeal launched by the church to repair the roof has so far raised just over £17,200 in donations and plans have been drawn up to re-cover the Lady Chapel with terne-coated stainless steel, a material used by architects instead of lead.
The Rev Ian Walters, vicar of Gosberton, said: "Our architect Philip Hawkins, of Scorer and Hawkins in Horncastle, has submitted a planning application to have terne-coated stainless steel fitted to the Lady Chapel roof, instead of lead.
"The work to replace the roof has gone out to tender and we will soon know exactly how much this will cost, some of which will be paid by the church's insurance company.
"Fortunately, the rest will come from donations we have received from both local people and those further afield who used to live in Gosberton, or were married at the church.
"Fundraising has taken many forms, including a big cake sale organised by Bells Day Nursery in Gosberton, sales of jam and quiz books and a harvest lunch held at the church hall.
Some repairs have already taken place at the Grade I-listed church where the South Aisle roof has now been re-covered in lead after permission from Lincoln Diocese.
A roof alarm has also been fitted and church leaders hope South Holland District Council will grant planning permission so that the Lady Chapel roof can be re-covered by the end of the year.
Mr Walters said: "The church is drying out slowly after rainwater came through the roof due to the lead thefts.
"All the power sockets in the church are now working and so are all the lights, with the exception of those in the Lady Chapel lights, although the wall heaters that were affected by rainwater are still drying out.
"The south aisle roof has been repaired with lead that matches what was left on there and the Lady Chapel roof has been covered with a giant tarpaulin.
"All this was done by Damian Dale Leadwork Specialists, of Spalding, whose team discovered further damage done during the theft to the gutter between the Lady Chapel and Chancel roofs.
"We were advised that when the lead was stolen, thieves may have either walked along the gutter or stored the rolled-up lead on it, causing damage to the underlying timbers which subsequently gave way.
"This led to the lead sagging in that area and thus letting in water, something which wasn't the case before the lead thefts.
"Thankfully, the church is now protected by a roof alarm which went live a few weeks ago and has so far only been triggered by pigeons."