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 Thursday, 16 January, 2003, 12:26 GMT
Campaign to save 19th Century church
Water damaging at St Augustine's Church
Water is damaging the walls inside the church
A campaign has been launched to save a busy church at the heart of a community in south Wales which is slowly being destroyed by water seeping through the walls.

St Augustine's in Penarth urgently needs 750,000, of repair work but, despite being given a grant, parishioners still have to raise nearly a third of the cost.

St Augustine's Church
More than 100 people regularly use the church

The interior walls in the sanctuary of the 135-year-old building are dripping with water and roof repairs and pointing work is needed to prevent further damage.

The Catholic church is a pivotal part of the town's community with a congregation of more than 100 worshiping at the building every week.

A wall surrounding the boundary of the church, which has started to collapse onto the street, also needs urgent attention.

The church's fundraising committee have pledged to try and raise 225,000.

Rector of the church Father Robert Donkin said the repair works were vital.

"We have got water coming into the south east corner of the sanctuary and also water coming in the bell tower," he said.

"We have had to move a very old painting from the wall because it is starting to get damaged and there are some pieces of masonry which have fallen.

"The boundary wall is also in bad state of repair - it is in a terrible state.

Father Robert Donkin
Father Robert Donkin hopes the fundraising will be a success

"We are hoping to have a grant - Cadw have given us a grant in principal and the Heritage Lottery Fund are meeting in February and hopefully we will be lucky to have funding from them too.

"But, we have also got to have our own fundraising events and a programme of activities to raise money as well," he said.

The church, which has Grade One status, has set up a committee who have started a campaign of money generating events.

Evan Davies, who is part of the committee said: "At the moment we are preparing for a Gilbert and Sullivan evening and we are also asking for donations from members of the parish.

"We intend to hold an open day at the church as well, before it gets shrouded in the scaffolding needed by the builders.

"I hope that by the autumn we will have reached our goal but it is going to be hard work," he said.

The money raised will also be used to repair a wall at St Augustine's daughter church, the Holy Nativity which has collapsed.


More from south east Wales
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03 Sep 01 | Entertainment
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