The threat to a historic Doncaster church caused by lead thieves has been removed with the help of a grant from a renewable energy firm.
St Wilfrid’s Church in Hickleton has been badly damaged several times in the last four years after the removal of the valuable material from its roof, with four-and-a-half tonnes of lead being taken in the most recent incident and a large area of the slate roof also being ripped off.
Water getting in caused substantial damage to the internal fabric and electrical circuits in the 800-year-old building, and Hickleton Parochial Church Council faced a large bill that their insurance company would not cover.
But now, thanks to a £9,131 grant from the Banks Renewables Community Fund, the church has been made fully weatherproof again.
Repairs have been carried out in consultation with English Heritage, the Diocese of Sheffield, Doncaster Council and Hickleton Parish Council, in order to ensure the character of the church was properly maintained.
Valueless imitation lead has been used in order to discourage thieves from visiting the Grade I listed building again.
Michael Woodland, of Hickleton Parochial Church Council, said: “Not only had the repeated thefts had a very visible impact on the building, they’d also caused the amount of insurance cover we were able to obtain to drop very sharply.
“We couldn’t have undertaken this work without Banks’ help, so we’re extremely grateful for its invaluable support.
“We’ve gone from facing a very real threat of not being able to continue to use the church, to now being warm, dry and fully operational again. No longer having lead will hopefully discourage any further unwelcome visitors.”
Sprotbrough ward councillors Jonathan Wood, Doreen Woodhouse and Cynthia Ransome worked with Banks, which runs the Marr wind farm, to identify the cause.