Villagers pledge to raise funds to reopen Little Plumstead church
Hundreds of pounds were raised to help reopen a village church as dozens of people answered a plea to be part of a fundraising drive.
As previously reported in the Evening News, Little Plumstead church was forced to close as it had no heating and water.
It had managed to continue with its regular pattern of weekly services, baptisms, weddings and funerals during the summer months last year. But it closed over winter and many events had to be cancelled as the building became too cold to use.
The water supply had been disconnected due to vandalism, and the electricity soon followed due to infrastructure works for the new school neighbouring the church.
It is not clear how much will be needed to reconnect the utilities, but it believed the bill will be at least �20,000.
On Saturday, a Friends of Little Plumstead Church group was launched to help raise funds for the church. More than 30 people signed up to be a 'friend' and �970 was raised on the day.
Churchwarden Gerry Jarvis said: 'It was very buoyant and there was lots of positive feedback.
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'Everyone there seemed to be very interested and concerned that they must do something to help their parish church. They realise that someone has to look after it at the end of the day.'
The grade two-listed church features a Saxon flint round tower and is the only one in England to be named Saints Gervase and Protase Church in dedication to Gervaisius and Protaisius, two giant-sized brothers who were martyred in the second century in Milan.
About �110,000 has already been raised to build a new extension and to improve disabled access and schoolchildren have helped collect change for the church's 1p and 2p fund.
It is hoped the 'friends', a group which hopes to become a registered charity, will help boost funds further.
Mr Jarvis added: 'Saturday's event was quite successful. We really needed to attract as big an audience as possible and we had 32 people register to be friends.
'With a few exceptions, all the people were from the church or Little Plumstead, although we did have some from Thorpe St Andrew and Sprowston and had some donations from a lady in Edinburgh.
'We want to make it quite clear that membership is open to all.'
The next fundraising event will be a coffee and chat morning on Saturday from 10am. The event will include card sales, bring and buy, cake stalls, a tombola and raffles.
Are you fighting to save a community facility in the area where you live? Call reporter Kate Scotter on 01603 772326 or email firstname.lastname@example.org