A tiny rural catholic community in the remote highlands of Scotland may lose grant funding already earmarked for the restoration of its historic church unless they are able to raise a minimum of £80,000 in the next few weeks.
The church of Our Lady and St Bean at Marydale in Cannich, designed by Joseph Hansom who designed the Hansom cab, needs at least £164,000 spent on it to restore the bell tower which leaks like a sieve as well as carrying out other necessary work.
Said Parish Priest Father Paul Bonnici: "Historic Scotland and the Heritage Lottery Fund have already earmarked around £80, 000. Unless we get the rest in and get it soon, we are in grave danger of losing these grants."
Now, in a desperate attempt to raise funds, 31 year old Father Paul has decided to shed some pounds of his own in order to gain pounds for the restoration work of his church.
The Maltese cleric said. "I have decided to go on a sponsored slim. I hate to admit it but I was shocked when I went on the scales and found out that I weigh 18st 6 lb. I would like to come down by about 3st."
Mr Peter MacDonald, chairman of the parish pastoral council and member of the fund raising group set up to raise the funds, added "We wish Father Paul well in his sponsored slim. The last time he tried to lose weight, was in the Summer but without much success. This time he is determined. Otherwise we are facing real problems."
The undertaking of raising £80, 000 over the next few weeks is too huge for the small catholic community of Cannich and nearby Glenurquhart and Drumnadrochit. Anyone able to sponsor Father Bonnici or give donations to the Marydale Restoration Fund should contact:
FATHER PAUL BONNICI
MARYDALE RESTORATION FUND
FOR PICTURES PLEASE CONTACT Paul MacSherry