A CATHOLIC church in Darwen has launched an £80,000 fundraising appeal after five of its heaters were condemned.

Leaders at St Joseph’s were shocked when a recent gas safety inspection left the Bolton Road building with just three working heaters.

It comes at a time when work has already begun to fix dry rot at the church while ageing pipework to heat the neighbouring church hall is also in need or repair.

A drive to raise the required funds has now begun and Brownie leader Angela Gibbs will take a group of youngsters to Darwen Tower for the Rotary Club’s annual ‘Tower Trudge’ this weekend. She said: “We really want to raise the money and get it sorted before the winter. No matter what happens we will still have services in church, and if it gets really bad we can always use St Edward’s in Blackburn Road.

“A week after the inspection, the boiler blew up, and we found dry rot in the parish church so there is scaffolding up. We have just started trying to raise money and myself and another Brownie leader will be taking up to 16 children up to the tower.”

And on June 7, Angela and other parishioners have organised a summer fair at the church hall featuring ice cream, a barbecue, games and stalls. Refreshments including cream and strawberry teas will also be on offer.