THE Team Rector of Saddleworth is stepping out on a challenging sponsorship mission throughout June to raise vital funds for Saddleworth St Chad Parish Church.
The Grade II* listed building is in need of extensive restorations, with English Heritage estimating
£1 million is required to fully restore it.
Reverend Canon Sharon Jones has committed herself to walking 10,000 steps per day in the hopes of raising £5,000 to provide disabled access to the church, a feature which it currently lacks.
Just three days into her venture, which began on June 1, she had already walked over 37,000 steps with various companions and raised £655 towards her target.
She said: “Saddleworth St Chad is in a very small minority of listed buildings that are classed as ‘at risk’ by English Heritage due to the number of repairs it needs.
“There is the moral dilemma of whether attempting to save it is the right thing to do, but I feel it’s such a precious building to the people of Saddleworth.
“In various forms, it has been here for over 800 years, the graveyard dates to the 1600s and it is a custodian of generations of memories to people all over the world.
“This isn’t something that our small congregation can do on our own, we need all of Saddleworth to come together to help save this church or risk losing it forever within the next 10 years.”
In addition to her fundraising efforts and generous legacies left to the church by residents, Rev Canon Jones has also been making moves to apply for various grants to preserve the building.
And students at St Chad’s Primary School in Uppermill have been getting involved by staging their own fundraisers and helping raise awareness.
Rev Canon Jones said: “We have a very special relationship with St Chad’s school and are very grateful to them and to all the people who leave legacies to the church.
“But I cannot stress enough just how critical the situation is, with urgent repairs needed for the roof and the windows. We need every bit of help we can get.
“I’m always hopeful that God will provide though, and I pray that the people of Saddleworth will recognise our plight a rally together to help save the church.”
If you would like to donate towards Rev Canon Jones’s fundraiser for Saddleworth
St Chad, you can do so online at https://gofund.me/b27f859c