New Orleans jazz arrives at Sussex church after lead theft

A CHURCH is asking for help from the congregation after eight tons of lead were stolen from the roof overnight.

The theft at St Alban’s Church in Frant, near Crowborough means she is left with just a tarp to cover the roof for the winter.

Rev. Brendan Martin, Rector, estimated the cost of the replacement at more than £20,000 and urged the congregation to rally around the historic building.

Pastor Martin said: “If we don’t fix it in the fall, the weather will do massive damage to the church.

“We’ve had a bit of rain, but with just a plastic tarp it’s not going to keep the weather out.”

The Argus: Pictures from the church roof show the extent of the damagePictures of the church roof show the extent of the damage

The theft happened in June. The thieves not only stole the lead but also damaged masonry around the church.

Lead is often used as a durable means of weatherproofing historic buildings, but it is also expensive and often targeted by thieves.

Sussex Police said: “Metal thefts of this nature not only have financial value but also have a huge impact on our cultural heritage and local communities.

“The scale of this offense is such that it is believed to have been committed by criminals operating across the UK as part of an organized crime group.”

To raise some of the money for the roof replacement, St Alban’s has organized a series of concerts with proceeds going towards building upkeep.

The Argus: St Albans Church in Frant near Tunbridge WellsSt Albans Church in Frant near Tunbridge Wells

These include Christian Garrick and The Budapest Café Orchestra, as well as jazz favorites Don Vappie and Jazz Creole.

Rev. Martin expressed his excitement at having Vappie, considered one of New Orleans’ greatest banjo players of all time.

The concerts will take place on Friday, October 21 and Wednesday, November 9, and tickets can be purchased on the church website. New Orleans jazz arrives at Sussex church after lead theft

Fry Electronics Team

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