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Community spirit strong as thousands raised to replace stolen lead from church tower

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Parishioners of a church in the New Forest have raised thousands of pounds to replace lead stolen from its bell tower.

Thieves scaled 35 feet to the top of St George's Church in Damerham to steal the lead which had inscriptions etched into it dating back to the 18th Century.

The church says the generosity and goodwill of parishioners has more than outweighed the upset of the theft.

Watch this report by Sally Simmonds:

Outside St George's Church in Damerham, Reverend Leslie Player explained why the stolen lead is so much more precious than its face value.

Parishioners found our their church had been stripped of its lead just after new year.

A ladder the thieves had brought with them still lies at the back of the church as a reminder of a crime that's hit the community hard, and proof the scaling of the 10 metre high tower was planned.

A ladder the thieves had brought with them still lies at the back of the church. Credit: ITV Meridian

Already, thousands of pounds have been raised towards the £10,000 needed for repairs.

The lead has gone forever but the community spirit here is stronger than ever.

Already, thousands of pounds have been raised towards the £10,000 needed for repairs. Credit: ITV Meridian