Scaffolding crept up the front of the Bridport United Church as the final stages of repair works got under way.

The scaffolding marks the beginning of the end of the internal and external renovations that have been planned since 2007.

Church secretary Peter Kershaw said the costs during the project had been met by fundraising efforts from the church and donations from other parties.

He said: “We have a leak in the north end of the roof and the scaffolding is up to enable access to the area for repairs. Once that’s done we can make good any damage on the interior and re-lead the stained glass window.

“We plan to go ahead with the Christmas tree celebrations as normal. There also won’t be any impact to events and programmes while the scaffolding is up.”

He added: “The repairs have been funded by the church, and members have been very generous and proactive with donations.

“The outside work should cost around £55,000, which when completed will bring the total cost of repairs and refurbishments to around £400,000.”

Officials last year said they had set a budget of around £450,000 for the completion of the internal works.

Among the planned improvements was the installation of an energy efficient heating system, better visual projection technology, and new carpets throughout.

A new fire escape route and throughway to the main hall were also planned, as well as replacing the fixed pews with flexible seating.