Seventy churches and chapels in Suffolk now have alarms fitted to their roofs. Two months after the Suffolk Historic Churches Trust launched the “Alarms for Churches Appeal”, it has helped double the number of Suffolk churches with approved alarms. The alarms mean that these churches and chapels are now properly insured if their lead roofs are targeted by thieves.
When the appeal was launched in September, thirty-five Suffolk churches had approved roof alarms and now, thanks to generous donations and grants, the SHCT has helped another thirty-five churches, and eight more alarm systems will be installed in the next couple of weeks.
“The Appeal has raised £150,000 with donations of all sizes from Suffolk people, and we are especially grateful for the large donations we have received from The Lord Belstead Charitable Trust and from The H B Allen Charitable Trust”, said Martin Favell, Chairman of SHCT, “and we would like to thank everyone who has helped so far. We have already awarded grants to churches totalling £75,000. However, there are still another eighty churches without alarms that we would also like to help, and with organised metal thieves still stripping roofs last weekend in Huntingdonshire and Northamptonshire, there is no room for complacency.”
Some churches, who missed the initial launch, have not applied for a grant, thinking they were too late; however, Martin Favell is anxious that they do not miss out.
“We have enough money for another thirty-five grants that we can give immediately and if Suffolk people, who value the historic buildings that are part of their community, continue to support the appeal, we hope to be able to help all the churches and chapels who need it.”
SHCT is offering to cover half the cost of involved, up to a value of £2,500, for each of the next thirty-five churches to apply. This means vulnerable churches and chapels in Suffolk can continue to get the same financial support as those churches which have already been helped.
SHCT are asking churches who still need their help to contact them, and they are also asking the people of Suffolk to help with a donation, however small, either via JustGiving (www.justgiving.com/suffolkhct) or by sending a cheque, paid payable to SHCT, to The Secretary, Suffolk Historic Churches Trust, Brinkleys, Hall Street, Long Melford, Suffolk, CO10 9JR.
LATEST: The East Anglian Daily Times, with the Eastern Daily Press, are offering a reward for information leading to the conviction of the lead thieves. Thank you also to the Bishop, the Suffolk Police and Crime Commissioner Tim Passmore, and Adnams for contributing to a reward total of £26,000.