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Church's restoration appeal boosted by “imaginary roof” campaign
9:35am Wednesday 24th October 2012 in News
The Bishop of Selby, the Right Rev Martin Wallace, left, with parishioners at St Olave’s in Marygate, organist Keith Wright, up on the roof with the knitted panels
WORSHIPPERS at an historic York church plundered by metal thieves have sewn up a restoration appeal which involved members knitting giant panels of an “imaginary roof” for cash.
Thieves stole lead from the roof of St Olave’s Church in Marygate twice last year. Rain then got into the building and caused extensive damage to an antique organ and stained the walls of the Chancel – leaving a £50,000 repair bill.
Although some of the cost was covered by insurance, the congregation at the 11th-century church were left with a shortfall of £10,000, which needed to be raised from members of the public.
To bridge the gap, members launched a fundraising drive which included a sponsored “knit a new roof” campaign. They encouraged knitters to make 20cm squares, which were then sewn together to create a large blanket the size of the roof.
For every square knitted, the congregation collected sponsorship towards the church restoration fund.
The project was the brainchild of Jude Brereton, a member of the church’s fundraising group, who said more than 2,000 knitted squares were consequently made – enough to cover the chancel roof.
Money raised from the knitting campaign, including other fundraising projects such as concerts and auctions, has meant the fundraising target has been reached. The organ has now been fixed and the church roof will be replaced shortly.
Paul Tyack, a committee member, said: “Thanks to the generosity and kindness of the people of York, enough money has now been raised to repair the organ and replace the roof – we look forward to welcoming people from far and wide to visit the church and hear the organ in the run up to Christmas at one of York’s most special historic buildings.”
The squares have now be sewn into blankets of a more normal size – with 1,000 being donated to local charities and the other 1,000 donated to the charity Knit-A-Square project which provides warm clothing for children affected by AIDS in southern Africa.