AN APPEAL has been launched to raise £150,000 to secure the long-term future of one of Bromsgrove’s oldest churches which also has links to Salt King John Corbett.
St Michael and All Angels Church in Stoke Prior has fallen into a state of disrepair and the tower, in particular, has become dangerous.
Following that, a crowdfunding drive has now been set up in a bid to collect the cash.
Various events are being planned to boost the coffers with the first collection due to be held at the annual Christmas Eve crib service at 5pm on Thursday (December 24).
The church, which dates back to the 12th century, is a Grade I listed building but only the tower and the nave survive from that building.
The chancel was rebuilt in the early 13th century and the north chapel and south aisle were added in the 13th and 14th centuries respectively.
Decorated windows were added to the chancel in the 14th century and the present north aisle and vestry were rebult in 1848.
Mr Corbett renovated the church in the latter part of the 19th century and he is buried in the graveyard there.
As well as the church, the lych gate also has Grade II listed status.
Extensive repairs will be needed to the church tower – there has been structural movement to the east, west and south corners which has left wide open joints.
The upper eastern corner is also in danger of collapse after misaligned stonework appears decayed and weak.
There has been bee damage to the west, with partually absent stones. Masonry work is needed there.
The spire, which is clad with timber shingles, has also sustained damage. There are four holes on the south side, two on the east and five on the north – they are thought to have been caused by woodpeckers.
Guttering at the base of the spire is also leaking, causing water to drip inside and damage the chancel.
Gary Stokes, who is leading the campaign, said: “St Michael and All Angels Church has been at the heart of the community for centuries and we want to make sure it continues to be for many years to come.
“Without this work we are not sure how long the church will remain open.”
He added volunteers were needed to help get the ball rolling on the campaign and organise fund-raising events.
Anyone wanting to donate funds to the cause can pick up white gift aid envelopes in the church and cheques should be made out to the ‘Stoke Prior Tower Restoration Appeal’ before being sent to Gary Stokes at 15, Bredon Road, Bromsgrove, Worcestershire, B61 7HD.
Alternatively, visit crowdfunding.justgiving.com/gary –stokes and pledte cash online.