DEDICATED residents in a Ryedale village are working hard to restore a much loved church which has been a feature in the village for centuries.

The group from Oswaldkirk have a mammoth task on their hands of raising £100,000 for the restoration work for St Oswald's Church, which dates back to Saxon times.

Through promised funding from official grants and community fundraising events including two jazz evenings and a community supper at the village hall, their current fundraising total stands at about £25,000.

Sue Wade, one of the six who has formed a sub-committee of the Oswaldkirk Parochial Church Council to work on the fundraising, said that the church has been in desperate need of restoration work for some time.

"There is masses and masses of work to be done. We have water coming in and work done during the 50's didn't use the correct cement which means water has got in and stones have cracked when the water has frozen," said Sue.

"It hasn't had a proper architectural assessment in the correct sense really."

The main work will be to restore the once beautiful painted chancel ceiling of the grade two listed building which has gradually deteriorated due to damp.

Sue is hoping that the restoration work can begin before the full £100,000 is raised though.

She said: "Hopefully part of the funding can begin when we have some more money behind us to show people that things are being done."

Villagers have organised a music evening at the church on Sunday, May 4, featuring the Ampleforth Singers and Music Scholars from Ampleforth Abbey. The event will begin at 5pm in the church. Tickets are £15, which includes supper.