THE vicar of a popular church in Chard says the £10,000 of funding they have received is crucial.

Rev Sue Tucker said the money for St Mary’s Church will go towards a £125,000 project to repair and re-lead the south side of the church roof.

The money is part of £645,000 of funding from the National Churches Trust for 45 of the country’s most historic and community-minded churches.

She said: “The roof has had a hole in it for seven years and it is an extremely unusual and expensive project.

“We are so grateful for this funding because without it, it would be impossible for a church of our size to raise that money.”

The church, which has 130 members, received £83,000 from the English Heritage Lottery Fund last year and was given £1,000 from Chard Town Council to help fund the cost of the roof repair.

Rev Tucker said: “These grants are very important because St Mary’s has been in the town for 600 years.

“Churches that are as old as ours are lovely buildings but they need constant repair, so we are grateful to the grant bodies that help. The town council does not give to religious causes but it recognised the church as a central part of the town.”

The National Churches Trust, founded in 1953, is an independent charity and its vice-president, Huw Edwards, said: “As well as being kept beautiful, it is important that places of worship can help local people.”

As part of its fundraising, the church will hold a Burns Night on Saturday, January 25, at 7pm.

A small number of tickets, priced £10, are available. Phone Rev Tucker to book on 01460-261897.