When heartless thieves stole the lead roof from the Midhurst Over-60s club in the centre of the town it was a bitter blow to those who used the much-loved coffee shop and social club.
But now they have been shown that community spirit is alive and well in the town after builders, building supply merchants and insurers joined forces to re-roof and insure the building free of charge.
The story began 18 months ago when centre volunteers discovered water damage in the centre and found all the lead had been stolen from the roof allowing the rain to seep inside.
The centre’s previous insurance company, outside Midhurst was contacted, but treasurer Molly Gallagher was told although they would pay for the internal decoration caused by the water leaks they would not cover the replacement of the lead roof estimated at some £10,000.
“We don’t have a computer at the centre so I contacted Jane Eykyn, a personal friend, whose mother used to attend the centre and who is a director of the Midhurst insurance company Eagle House Financial Services.
“I asked her if she would help us and she did everything: “We are so grateful to everyone. This is a lovely heart warming story and it’s wonderful to know there are so many kind people willing to help us.”
There were no funds to repair the roof and so a big blue plastic sheet was placed over the building and it remained under plastic for over a year.
But when the centre recently asked Olly Wheeler and Jeremy Garnett from Garnett Roofing of Midhurst if there was any alternative way of carrying out cheaper repairs it set them both thinking.
“We contacted Jane Eykyn and said if she could sort out all the paperwork we would carry out the work free of charge,” said Olly.
“We have a very good relationship with Chandlers, the builders merchants from Petworth and literally over a cup of tea we mentioned the centre and they said they would provide all the materials free of charge.”
The centre now has a new roof which would have cost the organisation more than £3,000 in work and materials and it has been insured free of charge courtesy of Eagle House.