A DALES church has raised more than half of the £50,000 it needs to improve facilities for both parishioners and visitors.

Members of St Michael and All Angels Church at Linton Falls say its ‘flush fund’ plans include a new toilet to replace the current temporary facilities in the car park, and a servery.

Churchwarden, Helen Davey, said: “Toilets are really important in all buildings that serve the community, but following the demise of an early composting toilet, anyone visiting the church has to use a Portaloo in the carpark. That’s why we set up the ‘flush fund’.”

Fellow churchwarden, Mark Ludlam, said the planned developments would help outreach work and help combat rural isolation.

“The church community provides a vital role in the community and offers a place of welcome to all. It is important that our facilities offer modern conveniences and the opportunity for refreshments and social space,” he said.

The present church building can trace its origins back to the 12th century and has been described by visitors as a ‘gem’ and ‘picture perfect’.

The plans aim to blend the new facilities with the historic beauty of the church.

Mrs Davey added: “St Michael’s is a beautiful prayerful space, a very important place to the local communities of Grassington, Threshfield and Linton, and to visitors to Wharfedale. It is important to us to meet the practical needs without diminishing the character of the building.”

The rector, Rev David Macha said working in harmony with an ancient building would be expensive and was pleased that the fund had already raised more than £30,000.

“It has been wonderful to see how the church community has set to the task of raising the funds for this much needed project. Much of the funding has come from local efforts and a significant amount from the Friends of St Michael’s, in addition to some smaller grant funding..”

The church hopes to complete the fundraising in the next few months.

Rev Macha added: “We’ve been sitting on this for a while, and we’d be very relieved to have a working toilet. We would love all those who hold St Michael’s dear, to help us to reach the Flush Fund goal.”

Anyone willing to help the church in its fundraising should send cheques, payable to St Michael’s Church, Linton, to Mark Ludlam, Meade House, White Hills Croft, Skipton, BD23 1LW.