Campaign to repair at-risk Christ Church

Christ Church Burbage, warden Joyce Allwright with a prop a supporting a rotten roof beam
Christ Church Burbage, warden Joyce Allwright with a prop a supporting a rotten roof beam

A FUNDRAISING drive has been launched to save Christ Church, Burbage, which has been placed on English Heritage’s Buildings at Risk Register for the first time.

Dry rot has been discovered at the church and around £100,000 is needed to help repair the problem and the secure the future of the church, which is currently celebrating its 150th anniversary.

Christ Church Burbage, warden Joyce Allwright

Christ Church Burbage, warden Joyce Allwright

And the dry rot problem is in addition to ongoing problems with the church roof, which needs replacing, so any repairs need to be carried out at the same time. This means the total amount needed is around £200,000, though half of that is already in place.

The dry rot issue and other problems with defective gutters and damp have led to English Heritage to place the church on their Heritage at Risk register for the first time this year.

The building’s condition is described as poor and English Heritage’s report also describes a considerable condensation problem at the church. It is classed as a category B which means it is at immediate risk of further rapid deterioration or loss of fabric.

English Heritage’s At Risk Register, which analyses the condition of the region’s most important heritage assets, including historic buildings, scheduled monuments and conservation areas, is published every year.

Christ Church Burbage has been added to English Heritage's At Risk Register

Christ Church Burbage has been added to English Heritage's At Risk Register

The Rector of Buxton the Reverend John Hudghton said: “Christ Church Burbage is at risk because we have dry rot and it is going to cost about £100,000 to fix it.

“In the parish we have done our very best to keep all of our local churches open, unlike other outlying buildings which have closed. We are trying to serve our local communities in this way but we do need the support of our local community.

“The people of Burbage have been brilliant so far in assisting with the fundraising but if there are any wealthy benefactors out there we would be delighted to hear from them.”

English Heritage have offered a grant of £40,000 towards the cost of the work, but on condition that repairs must start by March so the pressure is on to raise the money as quickly as possible.

Church warden Joyce Allwright is leading the fundraising appeal. She said the dry rot was discovered at the beginning of the year and the work needs to be completed as soon as possible to avoid the problem getting worse.

“We have enough now to do the roof but we need to do the dry rot. It’s all got to be done in one job so we need to have the money together to do both,” she said.

“If we don’t start the work by March next year we will lose the English Heritage money so there is a lot of pressure.

“We are doing as much as we possibly can but there is only a certain amount we can do. “

As well as the regular events that take place at, or for, the church, such as coffee mornings, a larger event has been held each month to help towards the fundraising. And as well as attending and supporting these events, there are a number of other ways in which local people can help support Christ Church.

“You can collect an envelope from the church and if you’re a taxpayer we can claim the tax back through Gift Aid,” Joyce said. “You can drop an envelope through my door at 2 Arbor Grove if you want to donate anonymously or if you can’t get out of your home for any reason, phone me on 01298 78483 and I can pick it up. You don’t even have to come to church to help.

“If anyone wants to organise any fundraising events, that would be really helpful too. It doesn’t have to be just a few people who do it.

“People have been very generous in supporting us. We’ve had people come in and say what a beautiful church it is, and how it is the village church. You don’t even have to come to church to believe that it needs to be here.

“It is so sad this has happened but it is one of those things and we’ve got to deal with it.

“It is a very beautiful church and would be a sad loss to the community.

“To lose this church would be a catastrophe.”

The next fundraising event takes place on November 14 when guitarist Richard Taylor will be performing at the church at 7.30pm. Tickets cost £6 and seasonal refreshments will be available.

To help with the appeal, donate at church, or contact Joyce.