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Last Updated: Wednesday, 4 January 2006, 19:28 GMT
Bat haven saved in church roof
A rare colony of bats which took up home in a Lincolnshire church roof has been saved.

Work to protect the breeding site of Pipistrelle and Natterer's bats at St Andrew's Church, Pickworth, has been completed thanks to a government grant.

A new slate roof was laid and timbers replaced at the church as part of the 15,000 project funded by the Rural Enterprise Scheme.

Medieval wall paintings were also preserved during the work.

The grant from Defra means everything to us
Peter Thomas, churchwarden

The religious paintings were rediscovered during World War II when a nearby bomb explosion shook off paint and plaster from the church roof.

The work was carried out to stop any irreparable damage after the south aisle roof was found to be deteriorating.

Churchwarden Peter Thomas said: "The grant... means everything to us.

"We are a small community with limited funds so without this valuable contribution we would have had to embark on a long public appeal.

"This much welcomed boost enabled us to get the work done straight away to prevent any damage to the paintings or loss of the bat colony."

Rural Development Service Adviser Peter Hayman added: "This is an excellent example of community development.

"The church plays a significant role in a sparsely populated rural area. This historic community building will act as a catalyst for bringing visitors to the village and surrounding area."

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