THOUSANDS of pounds have been collected to help replace wiring at an old Darlington church.

St Andrew's Church, in Haughton-le-Skerne, faces a bill of £90,000 to replace dangerous wiring .

The church, which is the oldest in Darlington, was built on the site of a Saxon church in 1125.

An appeal was launched earlier this year to raise the money to pay for the work next year.

So far £33,000 has been raised by parishioners through fundraising events, including a concert by the Richmond Town Pipes and Drums which raised almost £800.

Rector David Bryan said: "The church is ancient and beautiful. It is deeply loved and plays a key role in the life of the local community.

"The church wants to safeguard its historic heritage."

He said: "We had hoped to undertake the work on the church from early January 2003, but have postponed it until late September so we have all the money.

"We have been greatly encouraged by the response of the public."

To help further boost the funds for the repair work David Ball, landlord of the Highland Laddie pub in Darlington, has agreed to do a 15,000ft sponsored parachute jump on Saturday, November 16, at Shotton Colliery Airfield.

Anyone who would like to sponsor Mr Ball can contact him on (01325) 288356