St Thomas’s Church Dodbrook ‘Fight the Fungus’ fundraising appeal held its opening event recently.

Visitors to the historic building in Church Street were met by information panels describing the spread of dry rot  in the sanctuary and chancel roofs.

Guided explanations of the damage were given by the Church Warden Patricia Beauchamp, and Robin Brett provided piano entertainment while people enjoyed either cream teas or a wine and cheese evening session.

Barney Greenhill entertained  the visitors with a short talk on his career in the mushroom industry. Interpretations of ‘Fungi’ in all its forms - from hand carved mushrooms to embroidered mycelium were on display, -  alongside competitions  to choose a favourite mushroom  photograph by Kingsbridge Camera Club, and a selection of limericks about the church’s unwelcome guests, creeping relentlessly along the old beams high above the altar.

A ‘Mushroom’ stall attracted buyers, queuing for themed sock, artwork and groceries - even bags of ‘coconut mushrooms’. The whole event has raised over £1,200 - a welcome beginning to an expensive restoration of parts of the church fabric, which may last several years.

Work  has already begun with re-leading and re-roofing the offending section of the church roof.

This damage had led to the serious ingress of water, providing an ideal environment for the fungus  

Serula Lacrymans to grow. Several jokers made reference to the ‘fun-guy’ who’d be doing the work…..entering into the spirit of the event, with their jokes about favourite football teams (Tottenham ‘Hotspores’)  and so many people  supporting the fundraising that there wasn’t ‘Much-room » to find a seat.