A RAGLAN vicar has launched a major appeal to raise £410,000 for urgent repairs to the roof of a Grade II-Listed Church.

Reverend Joan Wakeling, along with three parishioners, has set up a fundraising committee to help raise the cash to pay for the essential work to St Cadoc’s Church on Chepstow Road and improvements such as installing a disabled toilet and kitchen.

The building, which is partly 14th century with additions dating from the 15th century, was partially restorated in 1698 after damage during the Civil War. A Victorian restoration and enlargement took place in the 1860’s.

The roof is losing stone tiles which smash as they fall to the ground, posing a danger to parishioners and those visiting the churchyard.

Following a quinquennial inspection of the church, carried out in June, a surveyor’s report made it clear that the entire roof should be replaced within 18months along with other works to the fabric of the church without delay.

Revd Wakeling said: “The stones are clad and falling down faster than we can get them back up.”

“They need to be taken off by a specialist stone mason who will re-peg or replace them but until they come off we don’t know what we will find underneath.”

“We are hoping to have the roof repaired within 18 months and once the roof is made safe and whilst the scaffolding is up we hope to carry out other repairs and make improvements such as putting in an inside toilet as the current facility is a temporary one within the grounds.”

“The 'Raise The Roof ' campaign is a major project to undertake but the church plays an active role in the community. Not only is it a centre for Christian worship with close links to the school, but it is a community facility that plays host to a range of groups.

“The church was refurbished three years ago to open up the left side of the church to a seated area which now hosts harvest suppers, part of the Raglan music festival, organ recitals, lectures and community groups.

“People get married, buried and baptised here. It’s the very centre of the village to people’s lives as well as geographically, “ added Rev Wakeling.

“We want to get it back to what it used to be," she added.

“If we can’t raise the funds the church will have to close.”

The committee is awaiting approval of the plans, drawn up by a specialist architect. It will then set about apply for grants from bodies such as Cadw and the Heritage Lottery Fund but must raise £190,000 itself through fundraising event and donations.

Fundraising ideas include holding workshops to decorate a Christmas cake and flower arranging, a quiz, summer ball and hog roast.

To support the campaign visit www.raglan-parish.org.uk or follow on Twitter @RaglanRoof, facebook 'Raise The Roof' or call Revd Wakeling on 01291 690330.