St Sampson’s bats – have you got yours?

The bats of St Sampson’s Church, South Hill are having a housing crisis and need your help. The church is home to two maternal roosts, common Pipistrelles and the more infrequent Natterers bats. The UK population of Natterer’s bats is of international importance and they are listed as declining within the red data book for Cornwall.

Natterers bat Photo credit: Rob Parkin @

The congregation at St Sampson’s are keen to keep the bats’ home in good repair and ensure their habitats are secure, but to do that urgent roof works on the church are needed.

Bats are fascinating and endearing creatures and an important part of the ecosystem. They only have one baby a year and can live for up to 30 years. They eat mainly insects and are more closely related to humans than they are to mice.  Amazingly they are the only true flying mammals in the world.

Judith Ayers from St Sampson’s says: “We are privileged to have them in our building, but sharing our space isn’t always easy. Their habitats are protected by law, but it generally falls upon volunteers and donations to fund their conservation and enable them to thrive. We, like many churches who share our space with bats, find that it comes at a cost. We are embracing our bats but we would like them to pay some rent!

“The extra cost, on top of vital roof repairs to keep our bats safe is £6,000. Our survey identified 30 bats flying in and out to their roosts so each bat needs £200 rent (babies are free)!”

In order to help that happen, St Sampson’s have launched a Sponsor a Bat appeal and the Bishop of Truro, Philip Mounstephen, was one of the first to sign up. He says: “Learning to live in harmony with nature, rather than trying to curb and control it, is one of the greatest challenges of our time. That’s why I’m very supportive of the ‘South Hill ‘Sponsor a bat appeal’ – and why I’m delighted to be sponsoring a bat myself. Please do consider how you could help support these amazing creatures – and the lovely community of St Sampson’s South Hill.”

You can sponsor a whole bat or a contribution towards it (whole bat: £200, wing: £50, leg: £20, sonic hearing: £10) and all of your donation will go towards the expense of housing and keeping the bats safe. This project is run by volunteers and there are no salary costs.

In return for sponsoring a whole bat, you can name it, receive a certificate and you will be able to attend a talk on bats at the church for half price. Unfortunately pin pointing your exact bat will be impossible, but we will have a list in the church of the bat names and the sponsors’ name alongside.

You can donate on the Just Giving page  or by sending a cheque made out to ‘The Rector and Church Wardens of South Hill’, to Judith Ayers, Southview Barn, 83 Launceston Road, Callington, Cornwall PL17 8DS.

When the roof works start any photos will be published on the St Sampson’s Unlocked Facebook page.

For further details of St Sampson’s bat project, contact Judith Ayers at