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Journey to the top of the town as Bridgnorth church raises funds

By Rory Smith | Bridgnorth | News | Published:

More than 100 people made the stomach-turning ascent to the top of an historic Bridgnorth church during a one-off opening of its bell tower.

Terry Overton, aged 74, takes in the view

Overlooking both High Town and Low Town, St Leonard's Church usually sees residents take to the top just once a year.

But in efforts to raise money for vital repairs, the Friends of the Church group ferried 114 people to the top over the course of a day, raising £1,200 in the process.

The view from the bell tower

The rare opportunity was being given as part of a summer craft fair organised by group treasurer Penelope Taylor.

She said it was a small but important start to the fundraising efforts, with about £18,000 needed to repair the church's heating system.

"The opening of the church tower did fantastically well," she said.

St Leonard's Church

"We as a group need to raise about £18,000 as the church's heating hasn't worked for at least two years now.

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"It's not overly important in the hot weather, but it's so cold during the autumn and winter. The youngest church steward is about 60 so they can't handle the cold and we aren't able to open the church at all during those times which is a great shame."

The group looks after the church and opens it nearly every day for the benefit of its visitors and the community, as well as holding a number of events to raise money for repairs and additions.

The view from the bell tower

Penelope added: "We managed to raise about £25,000 to replace the central heating from oil to gas, as well as install toilets and a kitchen in 2011," she added.

"That was fine but after a couple of years the heating just packed up and hasn't worked since so now we're really pushing to have it all replaced again."

The bell tower at St Leonard's Church
Rory Smith

By Rory Smith
Reporter - @rorysmith_star

Trainee news reporter based at the Shropshire Star's Ketley office in Telford.

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