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St Cuthbert’s rises again after thefts

07 December 2012

Beating the thieves: St Cuthbert's

Beating the thieves: St Cuthbert's

A CHURCH that was forced to close for the first time in 800 years, after lead-thieves repeatedly targeted its roof, was reopened last weekend after a fund-raising effort by its congregation.

The 13th-century St Cuthbert's, in Redmarshall, near Stockton-on-Tees, was shut in November last year, after seven attacks in three months. Water had been pouring into the building, fusing its electrics and badly damaging the fabric and 17th-century pews.

The roof insurance was limited to £5000 a year; so parishioners had to find almost all the £45,000 cost of renovation. They also had to enter detailed negotiations with English Heritage for permission to replace the roof of the Grade I listed building with stainless steel.

In 13 months, however, with help from local organisations and individuals, the Banks Community Fund, and the Impetus Trust, they have been able to replace the roof, restore the pews, overhaul the electrics, redecorate, and even add a new lighting conductor.

"We are still short of about £4000, but we have been able to get that underwritten," the churchwarden, Eric Smalley, said. "We have had good friends in Carlton Methodist Chapel, who took on the waifs and strays and allowed us to hold services and meetings there."

The reopening included a rededication service led by the Archdeacon of Auckland, the Ven. Nick Barker.


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