'PLEASE save our special ceiling'

Those are the words of Gerard Keele, friends co-ordinator at St Michael's Church in Brent Knoll, who is leading an appeal to raise £45,000 to repair damage to the church's roof and ceiling.

The 96 panel medieval carved wooden ceiling, which dates back to 1480, is under threat after lead from the church's roof was stolen by thieves last month and as a result rain water has been leaking through the ceiling.

Speaking about the appeal, Gerard, said: "We initially launched an appeal in June as the church ceiling needed some work doing to it but on August 5 thieves stole lead from the top of the church roof.

"Having the lead stolen from the roof made things much more difficult.

"The church warden discovered that the lead had been stolen because there was a hole in the ceiling and when it started to rain water starting coming in.

"There was running down the north aisle of the church and if it rains we still get some water coming in.

"The community has been really upset by this, the church is a focal part of the community and its upsetting for everyone."

Gerard said a temporary tarpaulin has been put on top of the church roof in a bid to stop water from coming in but this will need to be replaced to keep the church safe during the winter.

He said he aims to get £30,000 to repair the roof through grant funding and raise £15,000 through fundraising events and donations.

Gerard added: "All is going very well. We have had about £8,000 given to us and we will be putting in for grants for the other £30,000.

"We want to raise the rest of the money by the end of the year so works can start in the Spring.

"We have a number of fundraising events coming up which people can donate at but there is also a form on our website people can download.

"If you would like to donate drop your form into the church or alternatively to the village shop."

For more information or to download a form visit www.theparishofthreesaints.org.uk

The Weekly News has contacted Avon and Somerset Police for comment.