A CHURCH in Cowling has a new lease on life after works to repair its roof have now been completed.

Holy Trinity Church, on Gill Lane, had been the victim of multiple lead thefts in 2011, causing thousands of pounds of damage and threatening the future of the building.

But thanks to a government grant repair scheme, the church received £77,700 to repair the roof and make it watertight.

"Our church has now had our roof done," said Maurice Hatton, a reader at Holy Trinity Church and principal petitioner for the grant. "The work is finished because we received a grant from the Listed Places of Worship Roof Repair Fund.

"The grant came just in time and we can now gratefully thank the government grant scheme for enabling us to make the church safe for years to come. We'd also like to thank those who undertook the work and advised us.

"We can report that in the nick of time our church is now watertight and not in danger from the ingress of water, which threatened to destroy it and deprive the people of Cowling and the surrounding area from a place to worship and a community activity centre."

Mr Hatton said after the lead thefts, the church had been kept watertight by the efforts of "handy" churchwarden Brian Ridehalgh.

"But he was fighting a losing battle," said Mr Hatton. "We were struggling to keep the water out.

"The grant was our saviour because we, as a small church congregation, could have never raised that sort of money on our own," he said. "Without the grant the building would have had a limited life.

"The project has had its difficulties but it's a blessing because the church is waterproof, enabling it to be used both as a church and as a facility for community activities."

Mr Hatton said the material used to re-roof the church is not lead, but made of zinc which he said is "valueless" and "extremely difficult to remove".

He added: "There is no lead to be stolen again so perhaps the thieves and vandals will leave us to worship and be an asset to the village."