A FUNDRAISING cream tea attracted over 100 people and raised £300 towards returning Cradley Heath's oldest church back to its former glory.

The cash raised will boost Cradley Heath Baptist Church's fund to renovate the Grade 2 Listed building.

The church needs £30,000 to make safe the old plaster in the ceiling, and redecorate the imposing 1904 part of the building.

The members of Cradley Heath Baptist Church are grateful to the many friends and supporters, whose generosity means they are more than a quarter of the way towards the target.

Robert Higginson, organist and one of the church stewards, hopes that the repaired building can be used for other events.

He said: "During the last 20 years, quite a few of the church buildings in Cradley Heath have closed.

"There are many activities, compatible with this being a church building, for which the premises could be hired by other groups.

He added: For example, the main building could be used for classical or gospel music concerts.

"The cream tea raised more than £300, but the most important part of the day was that so many people came and made this such a vibrant event."

Halesowen and Rowley Regis MP James Morris was among the visitors to the church for the cream tea event last Saturday.

The church was the first of any denomination to be founded in Cradley Heath. Its first meeting was in December 1833, in Granger's Lane. Later, land was bought near the Four-Ways end of the High Street, and a meeting place was built.

And it is in the history books for appointing Britain's first recorded black West Indian pastor - reverend George Cousens, in 1837.

The Cradley Heath church was among seven places of worship across the West Midlands chosen to share a £585k windfall as part of the Repair Grants for Places of Worship scheme, which is funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund and administered by English Heritage.