Poet raises roof with charity book

martyn offord crich poet and church roof fundraiser
martyn offord crich poet and church roof fundraiser

A Crich church–goer has put pen to paper in an attempt to raise cash after thieves targetted the historic church he attends – stripping it of £60,000 worth of lead.

Martyn Offord wrote ‘Little Rhymes with Crich’ after the roof of the Grade I listed St Mary’s Church, in Coasthill, was targeted by theives ten times in the last five years.

The repeated thefts have left the roof of the church – which dates back to 1135 AD – leaking.

As insurance will not cover the loss, parishioners have been left to urgently scramble together the funds needed to fix the sacred place.

The 60–year–old, of the Common, said: “The book was published out of anger.

“Some crimes shock because they are horrific and some make us angry because they are simply mean – and a lot of these metal thefts are mean as well as dangerous.

“I couldn’t help but wonder would these have happened during an age of faith or superstition when such crimes would have been deemed sacrilegious and worthy of damnation.”

The volume starts with the title verse trying to teach people how to pronounce the village name.

It then changes tone, with the next verse furiously threatening dire punishment on lead thieves.

Parts of the church’s roof have been replaced by other materials and much of it temporarily patched up until funds will allow proper repairs.

Martyn continued: “Like most of the population, I love and admire this beautiful 900–year–old Grade I Listed building and want to see it retaining its dignity and continuing to be a sacred place for people to find peace, have fun and celebrate the important occasions of life.

“Anyone feeling likewise should visit the church, enjoy it and even slip a cheque into the box.”

‘Little Rhymes with Crich’ by Martyn Offord is available from The Treat Place, Crich Tea Rooms and the Tramway Village, all in Crich, at a cost of £4.50.

Money raised by sales of the book or by groups inviting Martyn to come and do readings, will go towards the renovation of the roof.