CHURCHGOERS in Ramsbottom are celebrating after reached their fundraising target to fix a faulty spire.

The spire at the 162-year-old St Paul’s Church of England Church in Bridge Street was found to have serious decay by surveyors in May 2011.

And since the ‘Aspire for Ramsbottom’ campaign was launched last October, the town has rallied round and helped the congregation reach its revised target of £15,000 needed to repair the structural damage.

The original target of £10,000, which was reached in June, was increased after architects’ costs turned out to be greater than expected.

Alan Lumsden, who has been involved in the fundraising, said it was amazing for the campaigners to have achieved their goal.

He said: “It’s great news that we have reached our target, the paperwork has been submitted to the (Church of England) authorities and hopefully the restoration work will begin in the spring.

“We’ve received amazing support from individuals, businesses and organisations as we have tried to raise funds to preserve the only remaining spire in our town.

“We expected it to take a lot longer than this to reach the target so to do so just before Christmas is a great present for everyone here.

“The Church of England faculty still has to inspect the documents we’ve submitted but the plan is to start the work when it isn’t as cold and from there it should take a few weeks.

“Hopefully we can preserve this landmark for generations to come.”

A huge banner has adorned the side of the church tower sporting the appeal’s catch phrase ‘Save Our Spire’ for more than a year.

The top four metres of the 10m spire need to be completely rebuilt and the rest of the spire requires extensive re-plastering.

New stainless steel fixings will be installed to hold in place the spire’s weather vane, which has been damaged by wind and rain for decades.