THE maintenance of a thousand-year-old Chepstow landmark has been reaching new heights with the help of a local climber.

Jan Karvik - a climber, caver and builder - has volunteered to help St Mary's Priory in the heart of the town with rooftop maintenance

On Saturday, August 13, and the following day Mr Karvik abseiled from the tower and the lower roof spaces to clear gutters, remove vegetation and evaluate broken tiles.

"This church is an iconic building in Chepstow, and I’m pleased to be involved in its maintenance," he said.

Bristol architect Izaak Hudson had written, in his quinquennial (every five years) inspection report, of the church: "The roofs and catchpits all need to be cleared of nesting material and vegetation, which is blocking many gutters."

The National Wales:

This roof work, estimated at a cost of around £10,000, has now been started by Mr Karvik and presents a huge saving to the ailing finances surrounding the church.

"Parishes in the Church of England and Church in Wales have always had to be financially self-supporting since time immemorial," local vicar Rev Philip Averay said.

"Our small congregation simply cannot afford to run it.

"We are asking the community to organise and maintain this building if it is to remain available for public use.

"This is why we have started the Chepstow Priory Friends, the organisation formed to support the church building."

The National Wales:

The Friends of St Mary’s Priory Church have said that losing the church would leave an "abyss" in the town.

"Financial contributions of course are also welcome but there is also a great need for volunteers to organise fund raising events, run tea and coffee stalls as well as carry out maintenance tasks around the building and to come along and enjoy the events in this wonderful space," Rev Averay said.

Chairman of the Friends, Ben Barrett, said: "The Annual General Meeting is coming up on October 20 at 7pm in the church.

"Lots of people are needed to come along and take an interest in the future of the building.

"Do come along if you can, and bring others with you. The church needs you, either as a Friend, a volunteer or to serve on the committee as a Trustee."

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