Vicar of Tribley's fundraising effort

TO friends, she is known as the Vicar of Tribley - to her parishioners, Val the Vic.

TO friends, she is known as the Vicar of Tribley - to her parishioners, Val the Vic.

Rev Val Butler is rapidly becoming one of the best-known residents of Trimley St Mary and Trimley St Martin, involving herself fully in community life since arriving in the twin villages.

“My friends from Bury St Edmunds, where I used to be, call me the Vicar of Tribley - I am a Vicar of Dibley fan and a chocoholic,” she said.

“But here in Trimley, people call me Val the Vic, which is my e-mail address, too.

“I hadn't been here very long and I was in Church Lane coming round the corner to the church when an elderly man came up to me and stuck out his hand and said, 'Are you Val the Vic?' It was amazing how quickly that spread!”

She is now hoping the community will support her in a new project - raising �22,000 for the first phase of repairs to the tower of Trimley St Martin Church.

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The 14th century church is used for worship services while its neighbour, Trimley St Mary which stands in the same churchyard in High Road, is used for community events.

Both need repairs but St Martin's is the most pressing and the tower has been cordoned off because of its crumbling masonry.

Several years ago the tower was rendered to keep out the weather but unfortunately that rendering is now falling off, exposing the ancient stonework to the elements.

The �22,000 is needed just to repair the one side that has been investigated. Further work will be needed later.

“Work on towers of this age is difficult and has to be done by specialist craftsmen. Also, when the rendering was last done, it wasn't done properly, which is why we are now having problems, and it needs to be re-rendered with the right stuff,” she said.

“Unfortunately, the church in Trimley doesn't receive any help from the Church of England for maintenance of the buildings, so their upkeep is the responsibility of the parish.”

Both parish councils have been asked to help because of the importance of the churches to the village, and a letter has been sent to every household.

Are you raising money for a good cause? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail