A Crich church-goer put pen to paper in an attempt to raise cash when the historic church he attends was stripped of £60,000 worth of lead.
Martyn Offord,60, wrote ‘Little Rhymes with Crich’ after the roof of the Grade I listed St Mary’s Church was targeted ten times in the last five years.
The repeated thefts have left the roof of the church - which dates back to 1135 AD - leaking and parishioners are urgently trying to raise funds because insurance will no longer cover the loss.
Martyn, of the Common, said: “The book was published out of anger. Some crimes shock because they are horrific and some make us angry because they are simply mean – and a lot of these metal thefts are mean as well as dangerous.
“I couldn’t help but wonder would these have happened during an age of faith or superstition when such crimes would have been deemed sacrilegious and worthy of damnation!”
The volume starts with the title verse trying to teach people how to pronounce the village name and then moves on to a furious one which threatens dire punishment on lead thieves.
Parts of the roof have been replaced by other materials and much of it temporarily patched up until funds will allow proper repairs.
Martyn continued: “This means of course it’s no longer worth a villain’s effort to risk his neck clambering up on to the roof.
“Meanwhile the roof has leaked and the church is urgently trying to raise funds because insurance will no longer cover the loss.
“My book of poetry, celebrating the village, is just one gesture at trying to raise the necessary money.
“Like most of the population I love and admire this beautiful 900 year old Grade 1 Listed building and want to see it retaining its dignity and continuing to be a sacred place for people to find peace, have fun and celebrate the important occasions of life.
“Anyone feeling likewise should visit the church, enjoy it and even slip a cheque into the box!”
‘Little Rhymes with Crich’ by Martyn Offord is available at £4.50 from The Treat Place, Crich Tea Rooms and the Tramway Village, all in Crich.
Money raised by sales or by groups inviting Martyn to come and do readings, will go towards the renovation of the roof.