Members of a village church near Melton are celebrating receiving a £15,000 grant to help them repair the roof after thieves stole lead from it earlier this year.
The money has been given to the Grade Two listed St Mary the Virgin church as part of a £523,000 funding payout to 63 churches and chapel in the UK from the National Churches Trust
It will help make the church, which is currently on the Historic England At Risk Register, watertight and preserve its historic fabric with repairs to the roof timbers and replacement of dislodged stonework also being carried out.
Catherine Shenton, one of the churchwardens, said members were ‘delighted’ to receive the grant.
She said: “We were devastated when thieves stole the lead from the north and south aisles in February.
“We were already raising money to improve the drainage and tackle the damp and the theft took the total required to over £120,000.
“During the last nine months the congregation and community have worked hard to raise this money through donations, fund raising and grants.
“We are so grateful to The National Churches Trust.
“This grant will mean that we have almost reached our target.
“We may be in a position to start work in early 2020.
“This grant will make a significant contribution to making our precious church watertight again.”
BBC broadcaster and journalist Huw Edwards, who is vice-president of trust, describe the theft of the lead from the church as ‘callous’.
He said: “The UK’s historic churches and chapels are a vital part of our national heritage.
“But to survive, many need to carry out urgent repairs and install modern facilities.
“The cost of this work is far beyond what most congregations can pay for themselves.
“I’m delighted that the St Mary the Virgin church, Thorpe Arnold, is being helped with a £15,000 National Churches Trust Cornerstone Grant.”
St Mary the Virgin Church, which dates back to about 1300 although new research by a former vicar suggests it could date from around 1162, is a clear landmark from the A607, with its distinctive pyramidal capped tower.
The font has early stylised carvings of St Michael which may be late Saxon or very early Norman.