A PARISH church is looking to raise £12,000 to help weather the impact of the pandemic and recent major repairs.

St George’s Church in Damerham has had to spent around £40,000 on ongoing repairs over the last two years, after lead was stolen from the church’s historic bell tower.

In 2020, the church - which has existed for more than 900 years - says it saw a decline in donations of around 60-70 per cent, while the costs of maintaining the Grade-1 listed building and the churchyard declined “only very slightly”.

With repairs to the bell tower only recently finishing, the coroanvirus struck another blow to the church, as it is now unable to hold its flagship fundraising event - the Snowdrops Display Weekend.

The arrival of the snowdrops is an important event for St George’s and Damerham residents alike, and the church say the weekend is a “key outreach and fundraising event”.

In previous years, this event has seen thousands of people visit the church, and usually puts the church in a secure financial footing for the first six months of the year.

Reverend Leslie Player said: “This year has been such a difficult year for so many people. Our thoughts and prayers are with all those who have been struggling, for whatever reason.

“The coronavirus pandemic has eroded our ability to raise funds through physical events. We would normally hold a major fundraising event at this time of year to celebrate our beautiful snowdrop display. But it, like other events which help us meet our costs, cannot take place”.

In place of the Snowdrop Weekend, which would normally take place in February, the Church has uploaded a virtual tour to YouTube. This shows the grounds of the ancient church, which has been listed as of “outstanding national importance”, and the “beauty” of the snowdrops.

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