The Long Tower parish is appealing to the people of Derry to help raise £400,000 for essential repair work needed on damaged stonework on the exterior of the church.

Father Aidan Mullan, Adm, St Columba’s Long Tower revealed that extensive work needs to be carried out on the stonework of the Chapel, the origins of which date back to 1786.

He explained: “We recently completed work inside the building and the entire church has now been repainted. However in the course of this we discovered damaged stonework, which is particularly bad in the church porches.

“We estimate that the necessary work to put this right will cost in the region of £400,000.

“To cover the cost of this work we have applied to the Heritage Lottery Fund and we are hopeful of substantial financial help from them.

“However we need help to meet the entire cost, so we have launched the ‘Saving Our Stonework’ monthly draw, which has a top prize of £10,000.

“To make the SOS draw a success, we need help from the people of the parish and across the Diocese."

'Beautiful building'

Fr Mullan said that St Columba’s Long Tower is a church that many people close by and further afield hold dear in their hearts.

“We want to work together to make sure that this beautiful building gets the essential restoration work it requires," he said.

"For this reason we are appealing for anyone interested in becoming a promoter of the draw to come forward.”

Anyone interested can leave their name and contact information on the sheets provided at the Church doors this weekend or contact the parish office on 02871262301.

The draw will begin on the first Monday of January and continue on the first Monday of each month until December 2018.

There will be a number of prizes each month of £500, £200, £100 and two mystery prizes. In December the prizes will be £10,000, £2,000, £1,000, and two prizes of £500. Each month there will be a promoter’s prize of £100.

Each ticket costs £60 and can be paid in a variety of methods: £5.00 payable each month to promoter for 12 months; one off payment of £60.00; standing order of £5.00 per month - standing order mandate needs to be completed or a direct debit of £5.00 per month which can be set up on line via GoCardless.

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