Scarecrow trail and open garden event for Harpley church hit by thieves

Pre-weekend picture at Harpley
Open Gardens & Scarecrow Trail, IAO St Lawrence Church, Harpley for repairs after lead theft. 
In the picture with scarcrows at Flint Cottage, Back Street, Harpley, are Church PCC members David Mallows and Gina Wagg ANL-160621-155547009

Pre-weekend picture at Harpley Open Gardens & Scarecrow Trail, IAO St Lawrence Church, Harpley for repairs after lead theft. In the picture with scarcrows at Flint Cottage, Back Street, Harpley, are Church PCC members David Mallows and Gina Wagg ANL-160621-155547009

A scarecrow trail will line the route of a special open garden event this weekend - raising money to replace a church roof damaged by thieves.

This year’s open garden event for St Lawrence Church, Harpley, attempts to boost the fund started when thieves stripped the church roof of lead.

Member of the organising body, the PCC, David Mallows, whose garden will be open on the day, said: “We raised money to put a temporary roof on after the theft, which has a short life of about five years.

“We now have that time to raise the money for a permanent one.”

Mr Mallows said everyone pulled together when the lead was stolen – at the end of 2014.

Around 50 villagers turned up at the church to help out when, in the days following the attack, rainwater flooded in and village businesses helped with fundraising.

Mr Mallows said: “Although, of course, we didn’t want the lead stolen, it has brought people together.

“Everyone has done their bit.”

The open garden event will see eight gardens open to viewing and there will be games, tombolas, light lunches and afternoon teas on offer.

The trail is open 10am to 5pm, on Sunday, and will cost £4 for adults, with children free. Programmes, including a map, are available from the church.

The open garden event tends to be held every other year.

The lead taken from the church was thought to value around £20,000.

Alike other churches, Harpley’s insurance company would only pay £5,000, and the roof was only replaced in 2005.

Thieves stripped lead off the south aisle one evening and returned the next night to finish the job.

It came in the midst of a spate of lead roof thefts from churches.