Spring fair launches Cradley Heath's church decorating appeal

2:46pm Wednesday 19th March 2014

A FUNDRAISING appeal towards an estimated repair and decorating bill of round £50,000 is being launched at Cradley Heath Baptist Church on Saturday.

A spring fair will kick start phase two of much-needed renovations to the Grade II listed church built in 1904.

External repairs totalling £200,000 have already been completed, thanks largely to an English Heritage grant, boosted by the congregation’s own fundraising and support from the community.

Recently-retired senior deacon and secretary Albert Billingham said roof repairs had solved the problem of leaks and now the inside was drying out it could be surveyed to assess the extent of repairs needed.

He said: “We don’t know how much it will cost, but I think it will be around £50,000 or £60,000. It will cost a lot just to scaffold it out.”

Part of the ceiling has collapsed and much of the wall area needs replastering before the whole interior can be decorated.

About a third of the wooden floor joists and floorboards were replaced as part of the first phase and the sinking organ had to be jacked up to renew the rotten floor beneath.

The church sold assets, including its manse, to help pay for phase one and Mr Billingham said it was hoped to secure more English Heritage funding to cover the bulk of phase two.

The adjoining Sunday school, which was the original church built in 1834, now used for meetings and functions, also needs some repairs and could form the basis for a third phase of renovations, said Mr Billingham.

Saturday’s spring fair, from 11am until 2pm, will feature a host of stalls and refreshments will also be available.

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