WORK to restore a Southbourne church gutted in a blaze last summer is under way.

Senior figures at Cranleigh Community Church hope it will open the doors to a “better and more modern” church within four months.

Scaffolding will be erected at the Cranleigh Road church in the coming days and Senior Pastor Deon Kruger said everyone connected with the church is looking forward to the restoration work.

Mr Kruger joined the church from South Africa shortly after the fire.

Since the blaze most of the church services and clubs have been held at the nearby Beaufort Community Centre.

Other churches in the area, including St Saviour’s, Tuckton and the Elim church in Springbourne, have also hosted events.

Mr Kruger said: “We have been very busy getting to this stage. There are a lot of legislative and insurance requirements that have to be met.

“We are changing the front of the building to make it more modern and friendly and also changing the configuration inside.

“Other churches in the area have been so friendly and have allowed us to conduct our arrangements there.”

Massive damage was caused to the church in an early hours blaze in August.

Nine fire engines and an aerial appliance were called following multiple emergency calls from the public.

Severe damage was caused to the roof and the inside of the building but firefighters managed to save the building, using 18 sets of breathing apparatus and two hose reel jets.