A NORTON church is aiming to ‘beat the blues’ by appealing to the community to help pay for heating the facility.

St Peter’s Church, in Langton Road, has recently had to replace its boiler, which vicar the Rev Rachel Hirst said had placed a strain on their finances.

“It costs thousands of pounds to heat St Peter’s, which is money we simply don’t have,” she said.

“People may think churches are well-off, but we are in fact struggling and St Peter’s is a huge church to keep warm.”

Rev Hirst said church members were constantly having to seek new and innovative ways of raising funds.

“The church has grown into a place not only for worship, but also acts as a community base for many activities from youth clubs, sports and interest groups to British Services and Veterans Association meetings,” she said.

“Literally thousands of people pass through our doors and make use of the environment that has built up over the years.

“As a charity we offer many occasions for free or at a loss running rate. We support a wide spectrum within our community and wish to be able to continue to do so.”

Rev Hirst said the church was writing to local businesses who had connections with the community to ask for a pledge or donation.

“This money will be allocated to St Peter’s amenity fund, which will help pay for our boiler,” she said.

“In return for a pledge, St Peter’s will publish its thanks for the donation and make the list of contributors available to all our visitors.”

Rev Hirst said the appeal would be ongoing, but when they had reached a significant target the church would hold a ‘Beat the Blues’ celebration.

“This will include a service giving thanks for the help from the community for the warmth we are able to enjoy, followed by refreshments and musical entertainment from a blues and jazz band,” she said.

“We realise how hard things are at the moment, but St Peter’s is an important part of the community and it belongs to the local community and we hope people will respond to our appeal in a positive way.”

Anyone who would like to contribute to the Beat the Blues heating appeal should phone Rev Rachel Hirst on 01653 699222, treasurer Eric Rowsby on 01653 692749 or visit sites.google.com/site/ stpetersappeal