PARISHIONERS battling to save an ageing church have had their prayers answered - from 9,000 miles away.
It turns out that Roy Gilbert, who used to be an altar boy at St Edburgha’s almost 60 years ago, has left the church over £50,000.
In 1982, he left to become a vicar in Australia but he didn’t forget the Yardley church - the second oldest in Birmingham.
This month, worshippers were stunned to learn he had left a fund to help repair the Grade I listed building.
Church warden John Seeley said that he couldn’t believe it when he received the news about Rev Gilbert’s estate. “Never has the term pennies from heaven seemed so apt,” he said.
“A couple of the congregation remembered Rev Gilbert from many years ago but nobody knew where he was and this was completely out of the blue.”
Repairs to the 14th century spire will cost £200,000 and despite the valiant efforts of parishioners, there was still a £56,000 gap in funds.
Rev’d Gilbert has left 100,000 Australian dollars (or exactly £56,000). The vicar had grown up nearby and was ordained as priest in 1977, by the Birmingham Diocese. Five-years later he left to take a ministry Down Under.
While the bells will soon be ringing again, once the spire is repaired, still more money is needed to complete work on the 700-year-old building. More than £1m will be needed in total.