Church fund set up at Bramford
A SUFFOLK vicar has launched an urgent £12,000 fundraising drive to save an historic church in danger of collapse.Reverend Canon Roger Dedman is calling on people with an interest in historic buildings to help save St Mary's Church tower in Bramford before it is too late.
By Amanda Cresswell
A SUFFOLK vicar has launched an urgent £12,000 fundraising drive to save an historic church in danger of collapse.
Reverend Canon Roger Dedman is calling on people with an interest in historic buildings to help save St Mary's Church tower in Bramford before it is too late.
The church has been a focal point of the village for 700 years and attracts Suffolk artists who want to capture the picturesque building on canvas.
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But there is a serious structural problem as one of the buttresses supporting the tower is in danger of collapse.
Mr Dedman urged people who value the church as not only for a place of worship but also as a historic building to help the appeal.
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"The time left before it collapses depends on the sort of winters we have here," he said.
"With cracking in the buttress if you get water in there and it freezes it will expand and when that happens it will blow it apart.
"We have had a couple of good winters but we can't expect that to continue."
The opposite buttress did collapse during a storm 50 years ago. Cracks had been noticed and the vicar had been about to launch an appeal for £1,000 to repair them but nature beat them to it."
It is now hoped the same thing won't happen again.
So a group called Friends of St Mary's Church has been formed to raise money to repair them, but nature beat them to it.
Mr Dedman said: "It is not a problem at them moment but we could get to the stage where we would have to fence off around the buttress.
"When things start collapsing we would have to shut up shop and then the village won't be able to use the church for weddings, funerals and christenings.
"In the wider context it is a landmark for people who walk there and there are a number of people who it across the river and paint it.
"People think they will be able to come back next week and the church will still be there – they assume it will be there.
"It is a historic and ancient building but it can't keep going on maintenance free. It is a serious concern or we wouldn't have formed the Friends of the Church.
"The people who use the church regularly fund the domestic budget, which includes the heating and lighting, but the congregation don't need the ancient building because we have a church room.
"But the appeal is for the wider community – for wider events and for the historic interest."
n Friends of St Mary's invite people to come along to the church and see the problem for themselves at an open evening today at 7.30 pm.
n If you would like to make a donation please send your cheques to Bramford PCC, The Treasurer, Colin Elsdon, 64 Cedarcroft Road, Ipswich.
Tax payers are asked to make a signed declaration with their address and the amount donated so the Chancellor can donate a further 28 percent.