A VILLAGE church is faced with raising thousands of pounds after thieves stole the lead from its roof.

St Laurence’s Church in Kirby Misperton was targeted last November, stealing the roof leading and damaging stonework.

The church’s PCC secretary Rodney Hopkins said: “In common with many of North Yorkshire’s historic churches St Laurence’s at Kirby Misperton has been devastated by thieves stripping the lead from the roof, the net result being the interior damaged by water and the local community having to constantly deal with buckets of water.

“Replacement of lead is urgently required for the Grade 2* Listed building, but the total cost will be £55,000, and the local community will have to raise £43,000.”

Mr Hopkins added: “Coupled with this insurance costs now include installing security lights and surveillance cameras.

“For a small community this is a big ask, realising fundraising events may take years to achieve this. The PCC is looking into the possibility of a five-year loan, as well as looking for new fundraising events, which might raise four-figure amounts.

“Of course, with the responsibility for the upkeep of a historic building the general maintenance must also be considered and the last five-year inspection by the church’s architect showed that conservation work needs to be done on the tower.

“This theft is devastating to such a small community and also very, very frustrating.”

Fundraising has already begun with a talk by Jill Hopkins about her career of more than 40 years working for BBC radio raising £1,157.

Mr Hopkins said the church community would welcome any help and ideas to save part of the area’s inheritance.

“The church is a vital part of our history and needs to be preserved,” he added.