Rachel Morley, director of Friends of Friendless Churches, said the repairs to the windows alone would cost £5,000, with the cost of damage to the floor and pews yet to be measured. Crockery and religious items were also smashed.
The charity relies on membership and donations and has been struggling to maintain a reliable income due a drop in building visitors during the pandemic.
‘It just seems so pointless’
“It just seems so pointless. I can’t understand why somebody would want to do that, but obviously [they] got a thrill from doing it.
“I’ve been in this job for four years and this is the first example of anything like this that I’ve experienced,” she said.
While not regularly used for worship, the church is typically left open to allow visitors to explore, and concerts and festivals are also held there.
Many churches are left open at all times to encourage visitors and in a spirit of openness, but closed during the Covid-19 pandemic to deter congregation.
The group plans to keep it open despite the threat of further vandalism.
“As soon as it’s clean and looking good again it will be open again every day for visitors. When you attract genuine visitors I think it’s a really good deterrent for these things happening,” she added.
The charity posted images of the damage on Twitter and has since had several offers of help including the loan of an industrial vacuum cleaner that it is using to clear the debris. Police arrived within an hour of the vandalism’s discovery and are investigating.