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Revd Tim Hawkins inspects the wall where water poured in

After successfully bidding for a grant of £100,000, St Gulval Church in Gulval has now launched a project which will see the roof of the 12th Century building repaired.

Priest in Charge, Revd Tim Hawkins said it was exciting times for Gulval after years of making running repairs. “This is the first significant grant money we’ve had for the church building in years. We have been patching the roof for a decade or so but it’s got to the stage where we just can’t patch anymore.”

While the grant from the Listed Places of Worship Roof Repair Fund is considerable, it will not cover the total cost of the scheme. Another £37,000 will be needed and so the church will be fund raising.

Revd Hawkins said: “We will be able to claim £24,000 back from VAT and we have some money in our reserves but fund raising will be needed to get the remaining £13,000. Especially as we also have to try and find the money to replace our toilets which are housed in a mundic and asbestos outbuilding.”

Recent efforts in aid of the toilets have already seen £3,333 raised in a number of ways including tea and cakes at Monday afternoon sessions run by the Churchwardens.

It is hoped the roof repair work will start imminently although Revd Hawkins is keen the work doesn’t impact on the festive services for his 40 plus congregation who have got used to sharing their pews with buckets.DSC03533 for news

“We are likely to have scaffolding up for about 12 weeks. We don’t really know what we are going to find up there. The slates are fine but we don’t know what we’ll find underneath them where the water has come through.”

While the church dates from the 12th Century, it underwent a significant restoration in the late-1800s courtesy of the Bolitho family. Part of that restoration involved adding an ornate wooden roof above the main altar. It was this roof that was recently affected by water pouring through in one corner. Revd Hawkins said: “I was giving a sermon and I suddenly heard this gushing noise and looked and there was a torrent pouring down the wall.”

After inspections by architects Scott and Co of Truro, the church was told repair work was urgently needed. “I’m really grateful for the support and advice we have had from our architects. Without their help we almost certainly wouldn’t have secured the grant. And now local company Quicks of Crowlas will start the work replacing the roof lead and other materials as required. We are really looking forward to services without buckets!”DSC03583

Gulval was one of seven churches which received almost half a million pounds of funding aimed at helping them to undertake urgent repairs to their roofs. The others included Boconnoc Parish Church near Lostwithiel, St Breaca Church in Breage, St Piran’s Church in Tintagel, St Dominca Church in St Dominic, St Carantoc in Crantock and St German’s Priory near Saltash who were all successful in the first round of funding receiving £492,700 in total towards the urgent repair of roofs, gutters and drains.

Across England 372 churches received the grants from the Listed Places of Worship Roof Repair Fund, part of a £30 million funding package.

Archdeacon of Cornwall, the Ven Bill Stuart-White said: “It’s really good news that Gulval, along with the other Churches in Cornwall who were awarded these grants, are soon going to be feeling the benefits. We are hopeful that, since the Government have extended the Scheme and will soon be considering further applications to its Church Roof Fund, more Cornish churches will soon have a dry future secured.”

The next fund raising event takes place on Saturday, November 28 when radio presenter James Churchfield will open the church’s Christmas Bazaar. The bazaar will be open from 11am to 1.30pm.