11-year-old sailor raises £1,105 to help save his gran's church
SAILOR Matthew Kyle took to the waves to help pay for expensive repairs to his gran’s church.
The money will help foot a mammoth £40,000 bill facing the church, after it had crucial repairs carried out in the summer.
Matthew’s grandmother and church treasurer, Helen Purnell, aged 73, said a funding gap of £10,000 to 15,000 still needs to be plugged — or the church will be forced to take out a costly loan.
She said: “It’s very unusual I think for a boy of that age to think of such a selfless thing to do. He came up with the idea entirely on his own.
“He just said ‘I think I’ll try to help grandma’ which is fantastic and we met him after he had finished and he really enjoyed himself as well.” Matthew, who started Year Seven at Bolton School last week, is a member of Bolton Sailing Club and steered his vessel from the north end of the water down to Lake Bank Jetty and back again.
He said: “I really love sailing and when my grandma said we needed to raise money for our church I thought this would be the only way I could help.”
Having analysed the weather to find a perfect day for the challenge, Matthew’s dad Duncan accompanied his son for safety purposes but was not needed to help. Matthew raised the money through sponsor sheets left in the church and its function hall and donations from family and friends.
Mrs Purnell said: “We went up to meet him at the end and he was over the moon, he could not believe how much he had raised.”
After running church funds dry, the Bethel has received two small grants from the United Reformed Church (URC) and donations from local groups, including more than £2000 from the Westhoughton Sports and Social Club. The essential repairs to the 153-year-old church building including replacing floorboards damaged by dry rot in the playschool area as well as repointing.
They were done in the summer to minimise disruption from bad weather. The spirited church congregation have more plans in place to raise the cash, with the Houghton Weavers folk band visiting in December and a craft fair being held on October 19. A strawberry tea and variety show are also in the offing.
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