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Priest's desperate plea for funds as the roof falls in

PUBLISHED: 15:32 09 October 2008 | UPDATED: 15:28 07 September 2010

By McPartland A PRIEST has sent a desperate plea for help after an historic Kentish Town church was forced to close its doors after part of the roof fell in. Last week rubble was strewn across the floor of Our Lady Help Of Christians in Falkland Road aft

By McPartland

A PRIEST has sent a desperate plea for help after an historic Kentish Town church was forced to close its doors after part of the roof fell in.

Last week rubble was strewn across the floor of Our Lady Help Of Christians in Falkland Road after a section of the roof came down.

The incident happened as workmen were carrying out a £100,000 repair project on the roof of the 140-year-old church.

"It was given a hammering from the outside but we are testing it at the moment," said parish priest Father Tom Forde.

"The church will be made safe and then we will get back in here to worship as soon as possible."

In the meantime, services have been held in the church hall next door.

Our Lady Help Of Christians is trying to raise the money needed to pay for the roof repairs. So far around one tenth of the required total has been donated but Father Tom is positive the parish will come good.

"The parishioners are generous people and we know we have to look after the building and make it welcoming. People will rise to the occasion," he said.

"The parish community has to support their place of worship and they do that. It will be ongoing, particularly for a building this old.

"We probably wouldn't have taken on a job like that until it was absolutely necessary."

Two years ago Father Malcolm Hunter, the priest at St Michael's Church in Camden Town, spent 10 days and nights living 72ft above the ground on the tiles to raise money for similar roof repairs. But Father Tom is not planning on doing anything as drastic: "I am not going to get up there, no. I am going to keep my feet firmly on the ground."

The make-up of the community, who will now have to dig deep to raise the roof, has changed dramatically in recent years with the influx of migrants from across the globe.

Each Sunday, Our Lady Help of Christians hosts one of its masses in Spanish.

ben.mcpartland@hamhigh.co.uk

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