An HISTORIC village church is at risk of closing its doors if funds can’t be raised for vital work.

Pebmarsh residents are desperate to save St John the Baptist Church, which appears in the Domesday Book, for future generations by raising funds needed for renovations.

A fundraising page has been set up to raise £4,000 toward the repairs needed to preserve and repair the fabric of the building and grounds.

As part of the fundraising, a Pebmarsh councillor has decided to take on a trek of almost 200 miles with four of his former school friends.

Perry Crimmins, 58, is taking on part of the famous Camino Frances ‘Way of St James’ walk, which has been a route for pilgrims since the ninth century and ends at the Cathedral of Santiago in Galicia, Spain.

Mr Crimmins said he and his friends are keen walkers and have taken on treks like this in the past, and even raised about £27,000 in a previous fundraising effort. He said: “The chicken came before the egg.

“I was going to do it anyway, but it fits nicely with a pilgrimage and a church which needs a lot of help at the moment.

“I enjoy my walking and have walked in various parts of the world – the Himalayas, around the UK, and France.

“I’m a serial offender.”

Mr Crimmins, of The Street, Pebmarsh, can see and hear the church from his house.

He said: “Pebmarsh is tiny. There’s a church, a pub, a bus stop, a school and a village hall – and we need all of them.

“The church is a very important part of the community, full stop.

“We need to make sure the church stays open – Pebmarsh exists because of the church.

“Once it’s gone, it’s gone.”

Mr Crimmins is taking on the pilgrimage with Darren Butler, 48; John Surridge, 56; Martin Green, 59; and Tom Godfrey, 56, between April 24 and May 4.

The keen walkers will be hosting a presentation when they return to share their adventures with everyone who has donated to the church fund.

So far they have raised £780 and are hoping to raise £2,000 of the costs through the trek.

To donate to the church fund, visit funding/friendsof-pebmarshchurch.

n The Friends of Pebmarsh Church are raising funds to repair the historic building.

Their next meeting is on Wednesday, April 24, at 7.30pm at Pebmarsh Village Hall.