A major fundraising drive over the summer months has allowed progress to be made on a long overdue restoration project at St Lawrence, Bigbury.

Earlier this year Jill and Vic Gubbins sent a heartfelt plea to the South Hams community to help save their much loved church from ruin and asked for aid to complete much-needed restoration on the bell tower to preserve this historic building for future generations to enjoy.

The £50K Challenge resulted in over £51,000 being donated by the end of August, and Bigbury parish residents Vic and Jill Gubbins matched this with their promised £50,000.

In September, donations of £10,000 from Bigbury Tea Garden and £1,000 from Luscombe Maye have boosted funds sufficiently to start work to make the tower watertight.

This is anticipated to commence in late autumn.

To complete the project, the peal of six bells will be removed and rehung on a restored bell frame, and the tower interior reinstated.

Fundraising will continue, including a book launch by a local author, and a violin concert, both happening in the next five days.

Bigbury’s church (dedicated to St Lawrence) is partly early 14th century and partly as rebuilt by J. D. Sedding in 1872.

Apart from the western tower topped by a spire very little is obviously medieval.

The two monumental brasses are early 15th century.

The baptismal font, sedilia and piscina are early 14th century, while the lectern and pulpit date from the

following century.

Both the lectern and pulpit were moved here from Ashburton church: the lectern is attributed to Thomas Prideaux and thought to be a donation of the Bishop of Exeter ca. 1510-15.

A spokesperson for Bigbury PCC said: "Thank all who have very generously contributed so far."

To find out more, please contact appeal co-ordinator Jill Gubbins, on 01548 810651 or via email [email protected].

Or visit bigburynews.com/church for more information.