A FUNDRAISING appeal to restore a medieval Barry church has begun after its’ wall and a stone cross base were damaged.

Police officers are investigating following three incidents of damage to the parish church of St Dyfan and St Teilo, in Merthyr Dyfan, Barry.

Father Robert Parrish, who has been at the church for 17 years, described the damage as “disheartening” and said it would cost thousands of pounds to restore the structure.

Reputed to be the oldest Christian site in Wales, the current church dates to 1200 and has a congregation of around 15 people.

The grade II listed building has previously, over the years, suffered attack from gun pellets and has had a porch roof smashed.

Its noticeboard was vandalised and burnt-out cars have blighted the area nearby.

An appeal to pay for essential repairs, a new drainage system and traditional lime plastering for the interior walls to prevent damp penetration damaging the ancient church, is already ongoing.

But for the added repairs, specialist restorers will be needed.

Vale of Glamorgan Fire and Security has already offered to install free surveillance equipment to prevent further incident.

Father Parrish said: “I felt disheartened.

“We have an elderly congregation and we have to find another £5000 to £6000.

“We’ve got to use special materials as it’s a medieval, listed buildings.

“We’ve got to use a lime-based cement and that’s very expensive and we’ve got to use people who specialise in the restoration of medieval churches.”

Archaeology Cymru member and Barry West End suburb resident, Genine Neale, 46, has begun a fundraising campaign to assist in restoring the wall.

Ms Neale said: “I used to play down here as a child. The congregation are older. People have no respect and don’t know the importance of this area.”

Also supporting the campaign, Lisa Childs-Brown, 43, of Aneurin Road, Barry, said: “My grandmother Molly Farnden was a ‘pillar’ of the church community and she had her funeral here.

“I feel heartbroken. It just hurts. It’s like no-one cares.”

Father Parrish thanked people for their kindness and those who had already offered support.

He asked those who didn’t leave telephone numbers to make contact again.

To support, visit gofundme.com/repair-amp-secure-vandalised-merthyr-dyfan-church or email merthyrdyfanchurchappeal@gmail.com