ONE of Pembrokeshire's oldest churches has been saved from closure, thanks to a fantastic community fundraising effort.

St Florence Church launched an appeal in June for £14,000, which was the contribution needed to release a £115,000 Heritage Lottery Fund grant.

The grant money is desperately needed to repair and re-point the leaking church tower and repair or replace some of its coping stones. It will also enable the creation of a community area in the church for events and meetings.

It has now been announced that the grand total of £22,706.46 has been raised, thanks to a series of successful events and a surge in large donations.

"It's an amazing total, " said the vicar, the Rev. Alex Grace. "We are so grateful to everyone who has organised and supported events, and donated towards this incredible amount of money."

The extra money raised will be held as a contingency until the work is completed, and will then be transferred to general church funds. The current cost of keeping the church open is £1,457.18 per month.

Added Rev. Grace: "St Florence is a tiny community, but a very close one, and I think once everyone had the bug to help save the church they really couldn't do enough.

"We were planning to reveal the final total raised at a free concert in the church given by the Griffon Choir next Tuesday (September 25), but this will now be a lovely opportunity to thank people for all they have done."