A GENEROUS charity donation has taken a fund-raising appeal to repair a parish church bell tower past its halfway mark.

Grade I listed St Peter’s Church, in Abbots Morton, near Inkberrow, needs £40,000 to repair the top of the crumbling stonework on its 14th Century bell tower.

And after a £2,000 grant from the William E. Dunn Charitable Trust, based in Knowle, near Solihull, the fund has now been boosted to £20,810.

Appeal chairman Colin Pemberton hailed the funding boost as a tremendous start to the New Year. “We launched the appeal in August last year and we seem to have tapped into a well of goodwill towards St Peter’s Church, an ancient building of great heritage,” he said.

“However we still have a long way to go, £10,000 of our total was put in by the Parochial Church Council and the next £19,000 won’t be easy to raise.” Retired teacher Viv Oddy has made a “thermometer” in the shape of the bell tower to chart the progress of the appeal and has just painted in the latest total. She said: “People in this area have a great attachment to the church whether or not they are churchgoers.

“It's a vital part of our conservation village and cannot be allowed to fall into disrepair”. Villagers have already come up with novel ways to raise cash for the repairs, including a scale model of Abbots Morton parish church which was created as a coin collecting box. The replica, made by retired civil engineer Barry Oddy, raised £51 towards the appeal.

For details or to donate visit abbotsmortonbelltower.co.uk.