Telford church in urgent plea for £50,000
Fundraisers tirelessly trying to save their beloved church in Telford have a message for the people it serves: use it or lose it.
Donnington Methodist Church is the last Methodist church in the area, and has over the years soaked up congregations from nearby closing churches.
But now it is in desperate need of repair, and the ageing group that use it regularly are reaching out for help from the community.
The church, in Wrekin Drive, already has about £18,000 to start the repairs.
But church warden Kathleen Turner says they need at least £50,000 more to do everything needed.
"We've got a lot of things that have got to be done, and then there are others that are recommended we have to get done," Mrs Turner said.
"Then at the end of it all, we have decoration to be done.
"We've got inside roof to be done and a bit on the outside, we've got to have cavity wall insulation and windows all across the back. The stage has got to come down because it's got woodworm in it. When that comes down we'll need new flooring in that room.
"They have also recommended we update the kitchen and toilet.
"While all this is going on we have an electrical inspection and they have recommended we have a rewiring."
The congregation stretches to about 25 each week, about a quarter of which are in their 90s. More, like Mrs Turner, are in their 80s.
There are only two in the whole congregation who are under 60.
The group are doing all they can to raise the money. Mrs Turner runs regular craft fairs with items she and her craft group make. They bring in several hundred pound each time.
There is ample opportunity for visitors to donate to the church.
But there is still a long way to go if they want to bring Donnington Methodist Church back to its best.
"It's always the church people and the craft club people who come in," Mrs Turner said.
"You can count on the fingers of your hand the people who come in from outside.
"We want to get the public in. If they want the church there for weddings, christenings, funerals, then we need the help. There's no way we can do it on our own."
The group says it feels like it is swimming in treacle, with issues continuing to present themselves.
During their first craft fair, they arrived to find two ceiling panels had dropped.
New doors were installed last year for security, and panes of glass were broken by vandals during the Easter holidays.
"We were insured for that, but if they keep doing it..." Mrs Turner said.
"It's as if we're fighting a losing battle at the moment.
"It is vital that the church is kept in Donnington.
"It's the only Methodist church in the immediate area now.
"The three Methodist churches in Donnington united 52 years ago and came into the one we're in now. Wrockwardine Wood is closed, Trench is closed. We're the only Methodist church now unless you go to Hadley or St Georges.
"A Methodist church is still vital in Donnington. There's always been Methodist churches in Donnington and it'd be such a shame to lose it now, but I am pulling out all the stops to save it.
"If you still want the church in Donnington for weddings, funerals and Christenings, then please come along and support us."
The next craft fair will be held at the Church on September 6, with further fairs being held on October 4, November 1 and December 6.
There will also be a 'forget me not' remembrance service from 2.30pm on October 27. The service is a chance for members of the community to remember loved ones who have died and to see the church's facilities. Donations will also be able to be made.