A VILLAGE community is hoping Wimbledon champion Andy Murray will help get a church roof repair fund off to a smashing start.

Thieves made off with lead from the roof of St Mary Magdalene church in Loders just over a year ago – leaving the church community with a £27,000 repair bill.

Although the roof has since been repaired, it is hoped that auction lots signed by Andy Murray will attract high bids at the village fete on Saturday, August 3 to help the church community recoup some of the cost.

Loders resident Caroline Temple has secured a Wimbledon poster signed by Murray and a host of other tennis stars.

She has also got hold of three tennis balls signed by the British tennis ace.

Mrs Temple said: “I was given the poster and the balls by a friend who works at Wimbledon.

“We thought it would be ideal to put it in a silent auction and raise money for the new roof. Especially as it’s signed by Andy Murray who has just won Wimbledon, so we’re hoping it will attract a lot of tennis fans.”

Other famous names who have signed what should be a much sought-after auction lot are Novac Djokovic and Rafael Nadal.

Mrs Temple said: “I was glued to Wimbledon and wanted Andy to win.

“I'm hoping someone will see the value of it and put in a good bid.”

Church warden Andrew Lobb said the lead was taken last year from the roof above the south aisle.

He said: “So many churches locally seem to have been targeted by lead thieves.

“You only have to go on Google Earth and look down and people can see it there.”

Mr Lobb, of Nettlecombe said getting the roof repaired was a difficult process.

“It's a Grade I listed building and we had to speak to architects and negotiate with English Heritage.

“Although we won't raise the whole cost of the roof repair, anything raised from the fete will help.”

Local youth organisations will also benefit from funds raised at the fete.

The fete is being held at Loders Court from 2pm to 5pm.

Entry is £1 a person and free for under 12-year-olds.

Jigsaw James and Jambo will be providing the entertainment and there will be games and stalls and ferret racing a tug-of-war and a bouncy castle.

There is also a grand draw with a top prize of £500, donated by Watson Fuels, a second prize of £250 donated by Larkin Windows and a third prize of £100 donated by Steve Hansford Flooring.