A CHURCH roof appeal has raised a fifth of its £10,000 target in the space of just a week.

The vicar of St John’s Church, Cleckheaton, launched an emergency appeal after long-term problems with the roof over the community kitchen put plans to serve Christmas lunch to 100 people in jeopardy.

The Reverend Brunel James was forced to act over the leaking roof at the Grade II listed building when it emerged that the Christmas Day lunch for those with nowhere to go could have to be cancelled.

But the speed at which the roof appeal has raised more than £2,000 has led to fresh hope that a temporary fix can be achieved in time.

Rev James said: “It’s been amazing - donations great and small have come in and the local business community has been very supportive.”

A number of fundraising activities have been organised for the coming weeks. Donations have also flooded in and an online fundraising page set up.

He said: “We are so grateful to a group of local mums who organised a ‘pamper party’ to raise funds for us last Saturday.

“Our next big event is on Sunday , December 10, when we are hosting local singers at St John’s from 2.30pm to 4pm for our ‘Roof-aid’ event - including vocalist Tom Kolawski and folk duo Gillich.

“We will also be selling hand-made Christmas wreaths in Cleckheaton town centre on the next two Saturdays - the 9th and 16th - to boost the appeal.”

When the appeal was launched Rev James told the Telegraph & Argus that they needed at least £800 to carry out a quick fix and that at least £10,000 would be needed for the longer term repairs - to re-roof the building.

He said: ‘We want everyone who cares about the local community to be aware of our appeal and consider contributing. St John’s provides a mother and toddler group, a befriending cafe and a host of other community activities, but all this is under threat.

“The kitchen is used by everyone, even the congregation, almost daily. It is becoming a health and safety issue now.”

“It has been getting steadily worse in this old Victorian building which does tend to happen, but it is still very beautiful with its wooden panelling and lovely glass and we don’t want it to get any worse.

“We have been serving Christmas lunches for the past few years and have been getting around 100 people coming in.”

“It is for those who have nowhere else to go or even the elderly who have no family and do not want to be on their own on Christmas Day.

“If the repairs cannot be done there is a very real possibility that we won’t be able to offer the lunch this year.”

To help the appeal, see beneficeofcleckheaton.org.uk or the online fundraising page at justgiving.com/crowdfunding/elaine-morris.