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

Church goers at 800-year-old St Peter’s in Ropley, near Alresford, are about to launch a fundraising appeal for £500,000 to pay for the reconstruction.

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

Proposals have been drawn up 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.

Now two special events have been organised to launch the appeal later this month, 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.

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.”

The restoration is estimated at costing more than £3million, with insurance covering the bulk.

For free tickets email: or contact churchwardens, Mrs Day 01962 772267 and Sarah Earthy 772450.