SIR – I write in response to M Symons’ letter of July 19 about the overgrown and untidy state of St Alkelda’s churchyard ('Sadness at jungle at historic church').

Your correspondent asks ‘Surely something could be done?’

Well, yes, something can always be done.

I imagine St Alkelda’s to be like many of our churches, including the one I attend. A typical local church is looked after by a small but dedicated PCC and congregation, most of them not in the first flush of youth.

There is no central funding for buildings in the Church of England.

In fact, each congregation is required to pay the Diocese money, or ‘share’ to help pay the modest salary of their vicar and fund other services provided centrally. This is many thousands of pounds.

On top of this, the congregation, typically 25 people or fewer, has to fund the upkeep of the church – repairs, heating, lighting, hymn books, candles, flowers etc through their own weekly giving or by fundraising.

There is also significant fundraising for others in need, through local and national charities.

In addition, the same few volunteers transport less able members, help run the services, clean the church, welcome visitors, provide refreshments and organise events and outreach.

The vicar, who may be responsible for two or more churches, is often assisted by members of the congregation in visiting the sick or housebound, and making home visits to prepare families who want their children baptised.

The same few people look after wedding and funeral guests on the day, making sure the church is tidy and welcoming.

Once the living have been attended to, there may be time and energy left over to tidy the grounds, though family graves remain the responsibility of families.

I make no complaint about any of this – those of us who are well enough to help out do it willingly and joyfully, for the love of God and our communities.

I have no doubt this applies to the Vicar and good people of St Alkelda’s, who should be encouraged.

However, perhaps the question to the community should be, ‘could you do something?’

You may not attend regularly, but does your local church matter to you? Do you want it to be there when you have a family wedding, baptism or funeral, or when you feel the need to come in?

Could you be the person to help tidy the grounds? Could you help raise funds, or make a small regular contribution to the upkeep?

We are losing churches, but before it is too late for yours, something could be done, and you would be so welcome.

Carolyn Eastwood, Earby