Community rallies to help after lead theft

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A Good Samaritan helped rescue St Mary’s Church in Potton after thieves stole lead from the roof.

The theft left the Grade 1 listed church open to the elements during heavy rainfall on June 22.

But roofing contract Colin Seaman came to the church’s aid to put up waterproof felt and battening.

During the night of Wednesday June 22, thieves got onto the roof of the church and removed a large area of lead from the roof. With the lead missing and with the heavy rain that followed, there was a lot of water damage throughout the Chancel and many volunteers came forward to help with the cleanup.

But during the raid the heavy rolls of lead had badly damaged some of the stonework around the roof parapet as they were being pushed off the roof. The lead was then dragged across the churchyard and dropped down onto the grass verge in Hatley Road, ready to be loaded on a lorry.

Assistant Churchwarden Geoff Tomlinson said: “I happened to be home when the news broke, had a quick word with our next door builder who made a call to Colin Seaman a roofing contractor who called at the Church at 2.45pm. At 3.25pm Colin and two work colleagues turned up together with rolls of waterproof felt and battening. By 4.15pm the job was completed.

“I asked Colin to send me his invoice for the work so that I could arrange prompt payment but he declined as he has gifted the materials and labour to the Church.

“It is not very often do we receive such amazing service. So at least the roof was waterproof again!”

Insurance will cover much of the loss and damage but there are fears it may not cover everything. The church has been advised to increase security which could cost around £5,000. An urgent fundraising scheme has started and it is hoped to raise the money needed very quickly.

Many offers of help have come in already from Potton residents with many good ideas being suggested.

The Rector, the Rev Gill Smith would be very pleased to hear from anyone willing to help in any way. Contact her on 01767 260782 or Geoff Tomlinson on 01767 260002.