IT'S been a long time even getting this far but Hampshire parishioners are to start a marathon fundraising to rebuild their destroyed church.

Church goers at St Peter’s in Ropley are about to launch a fundraising appeal for £500,000 to pay for the reconstruction.

The medieval church, the focal point of the village near Alresford, burnt to the ground in June 2014.

Proposals have been drawn for a restoration that also makes the building suitable for the 21st century.

The planning permissions have been secured for the designs by John Alexander of Alexander Designs.

Two special events have been organised to launch the appeal, where guests can hear more about the project.

The first is the evening launch, where everyone can enjoy a glass of wine and nibbles, on Friday February 16 at 7.30 pm, and the second is an Afternoon Launch with tea and cakes, on Saturday February 17 at 3pm.

The parochial church council are delighted that the Bishop of Basingstoke, the Right Rev David Williams, will be at the evening event.

Both will be held in Ropley Parish Hall and are open to anyone who has an interest in St Peter’s both past and present.

The organisers are very aware that there are huge numbers of people who no longer live in the village but have links with the church through baptisms, confirmations, weddings, funerals or past involvement with the church organisations, choir, Sunday school, bell ringing or youth club. Everyone is welcome.

Norma Day, churchwarden, said: "This is a very exciting project not only for us but for the area as a whole, it is not every day that an ancient church is rebuilt."

For free tickets for either event please email: or contact the Churchwardens, Norma Day 01962 772267 and Sarah Earthy 01962 772450.