Lorry driver hits church with £4,000 bill

Oxford Mail: St Mary’s Church team rector the Rev Toby Wright with the damaged wall St Mary’s Church team rector the Rev Toby Wright with the damaged wall

A WITNEY church fundraising for a major refurbishment is facing a £4,000 bill to repair a wall after a careless driver smashed into it.

St Mary’s Church team rector the Rev Toby Wright said he believed a lorry had knocked it over after skidding during the recent snow.

The 13th century church is currently undergoing a £2m refurbishment that won the backing of the Princess Royal in 2011.

Mr Wright said: “We are not quite sure of the timings, but during the snow, clearly a very heavy vehicle – we suspect a lorry – slipped on the ice and crashed into the wall. Unfortunately, the driver chose not to declare what happened and drove off.”

He said the church was hoping to trace the driver to claim off their insurance, but added: “It is another thing that hampers our efforts.”

A thief also tried to break into the church’s bell tower in early January. A lock was damaged but nothing was taken.

The first phase of the restoration, to repair the roof, was completed in December 2010 after a £300,000 fundraising effort. The £600,000 second phase, which includes replacing pews and fitting underfloor heating, is under way.

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