July 24 2014 Latest news:
By Matthew Stott
Friday, February 1, 2013
A VICAR is appealing for donations to help pay off more than £6,000 installation costs of CCTV and a roof alarm after thieves stole roof lead hours before a wedding.
St Mary the Virgin Church in East Bergholt was handed a £6,699.96 bill to install the safety equipment after the incident, which angered the community last September.
Crooks climbed on to the roof of the landmark and stole four sheets of the valuable material.
The discovery was made when a hole appeared in the church ceiling on Saturday, September 22.
The wedding went ahead in the afternoon as planned. The Rev Steph van der Toorn’s husband later climbed on to the church roof to investigate and realised the lead had gone.
Mrs van der Toorn said: “People are still very upset. On the day it happened, people went up to the roof to cover it up.
“Others came up to me and stuck money in my hands.
“They were so appalled at what had been done to this beautiful church.
“It shows a total lack of respect for God, the congregation and anyone who uses the church. It’s dreadful. People feel very strongly about it. We are a small congregation and it will be a big effort to raise the money, but we are asking everyone to help out in any small way they can.”
Mrs van der Toorn said churchwardens put up the roof lead more than 200 years ago, inscribing their names and dates into it.
She added: “It had survived wars and weather until it was taken.
“They have damaged a historic building used by the whole village. It is a village resource.
“But we have been praying for the people who have done this.
“We would like them to change back to the way God created them.”
Mrs van der Toorn is appealing for witnesses following the theft. Police are investigating.
The cost of metal thefts within the UK is estimated at around £50million annually.
If you would like to help the church pay this bill, donations may be submitted to the church in the form of cheques payable to East Bergholt PCC.