A £500,000 fundraising campaign to replace the roof at Wallingford's Corn Exchange has passed the half-way mark.

The existing glass roof of the Grade II listed building, which dates back to 1856, leaks in bad weather and the rain is damaging the interior.

The Sinodun Players, a registered charity, owns the Corn Exchange Wallingford Ltd and runs the building entirely with unpaid volunteers.

The charity had already set aside £150,000 for the project from its reserves but still needed a further £350,000.

Since the campaign was launched in January about £140,000 has been raised, making a total of £290,000 towards the target.

Over the past few weeks there have been several substantial donations, charitable trusts and individual donors giving as much as £5,000.

Money has also been flowing in from fundraising events organised by members of Sinodun Players.

Head of the fundraising sub committee John Warburton said: "We still have a way to go but we are confident we will be able to raise the total amount for this major project.

"We have a team of highly-motivated people, all volunteers, who are spending an incredible amount of time identifying ways to raise the cash and writing applications.

"The Corn Exchange is a vital community asset and what we are doing will ensure its long-term future.

"Our thanks to everyone who has donated so far."

As part of the plans, the roof space interior will be opened up to allow the original Victorian framework to be seen.

A 12-hour marathon show at the Corn Exchange raised in excess of £6,000, and a quiz night at Crowmarsh Village Hall made a profit of over £1,100.

Rose Sutton and Ron Quinton, dressed as a rat and rat-catcher, raced round Wallingford Market Place on Pancake Day and collected at least £1,200 and junior members of the Sinodun Players were in the Market Place on Wednesday collecting more donations.

A substantial number of grant applications have been made to trusts and local authorities, including Wallingford Town Council and South Oxfordshire District Council, with another 40 currently awaiting decision.

Public awareness of the roof’s poor condition has been further enhanced by a short filmed appeal which is being shown on the Corn Exchange cinema screen before the main feature, prompting audiences to donate after the performance.

The film has been produced by volunteer projectionist Peter Bispham of Overstrung Ltd, a Wallingford company specialising in video production.

It is hoped work to replace the 160-year-old roof will start in June, and cracked glass roof panels will be replaced with coated aluminium roof sheets.

While this is being done, the roof itself will be raised a few inches to allow extra insulation which will reveal more cast-iron arches.

Work will also take place to replace or improve on-stage facilities, lighting, auditorium heating and ventilation.

The new roof has been designed by an architect who specialises in old and listed buildings and a survey and structural investigations have already been completed.

Donations online can be made at justgiving.com/campaigns/charity/sinodun-players/rooffund

Donations can also be made at the box office, or by sending a cheque (payable to Sinodun Players) to John Warburton, Corn Exchange, Market Place, Wallingford OX10 0EG.