A £23,000 fundraising mission has been launched for works to fix “significant cracks” and subsidence at an historic church.

The team at St Catherine’s Church in Southend Road, Wickford, hope to collect £23,000 for works to keep the building safe and dry ahead of a major project in the future.

The Rev Jonathan Evens, rector at the Wickford and Runwell Team Ministry, said the cash needed is beyond the reach of the congregation and would require the support of the wider community.

A series of fundraising events are planned and the church team hope to drum up additional support for the church, which dates back to 1876.

Mr Evens said: “The damage is quite significant and we have large cracks in the church caused by the subsidence which is due to the very dry summer we had last year.

“Part of the church is closed off and we need to make it safe and stop further damage happening. It is hugely concerning for the team, congregation and community.

“The church means a lot to people and represents lots of memories of people in the town.

We would encourage people to come to these events.

“This is about maintaining the much-loved community building that’s been at the heart of Wickford for a very long time.”

The team are looking at a long-term solution, which could include works to improve the building’s foundations and level it out.

Mr Evens added: “We really need help to maintain it for the future and need to address it very urgently.

“The amount needed is beyond the means of the congregation so it’s vital we have the support of the wider community.”

The church has organised a music event on Saturday, January 21, at St Andrew’s Church, London Road, Wickford from 7.30pm, a quiz night on February 4 from 7pm at the 1st Runwell Scout Hall, Runwell Gardens, and a music afternoon on March 11 from 3pm at St Catherine’s Church.

Anyone who wishes to contribute to this campaign can send cheques to Wickford and Runwell Parochial Church Council at The Rectory, 120 Southend Road, Wickford SS11 8EB, phone 07803 562329, or email jonathan.