Walcot villagers pull together for church

The lead-stripped church in Walcot.
The lead-stripped church in Walcot.
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Villagers continue to raise money to repair their church roof two years after three tonnes of lead were stolen from it.

St Nicholas Church in Walcot was targeted by a gang-of-six in 2011. They went on to be caught and sentenced to a total of 20 years in prison in December 2012 after a court heard of their prolific lead theft crimes across the East Midlands.

The village church, one of several in the Grantham area to be hit, was left with a hefty bill of £10,000 to replace the stolen material.

So villagers rallied together and have worked hard to raise the money needed to install an alternative material, which will hopefully start this autumn. They have so far reached the £6,000 mark.

Fund-raiser Pippa Rymer said: “We’ve been overwhelmed by the support of the community but we are still a long way off our target of £10,000. It’s a lot of money to raise for such a small village.

“Local businesses such as the GrangeSpa, Sleaford Golf Club, Hoppers Jewellers and The Three Kings in Threekingham have been incredibly generous. It’s brought us all together with a common goal as we don’t want to be the generation to let such a beautiful and historical building rumble.”

A series of fund-raising events are coming up, starting with a quiz night on Saturday, September 21, at Folkingham Village Hall. Tickets are £10 and include a two-course meal.

Meanwhile, a second-hand clothes collection is set for Monday, October 7. The church receives £500 for every tonne of clothes and shoes, and fund-raisers are appealing for anyone having a seasonal clear-out of the wardrobes to donate to the pile.

Details of these and other events and initiative are available online at www.walcotchurch.co.uk


A gang of six Lithuanian men were sentenced on December 14, 2012, to a total of 20 years in prison.
Described as Britain’s most prolific church lead thieves, they had targeted 20 churches across the region, including those in Fulbeck, Hougham, Swaby and Walcot.
On sentencing at Lincoln Crown Court, the judge said the cost to the churches affected was in the region of £1 million. 
The gang was based in Lincoln but hit churchs in Leicestershire and Nottinghamshire, as well as Lincolnshire.
They netted almost £70,000 from selling the stolen lead, the court heard.