The congregation at Rhu and Shandon Parish Church is calling on local residents to help them raise £90,000 to help save their building's tower.

The church has launched the Rhu Tower Appeal to raise funds for major stonework repairs to the structure which is suffering deterioration as a result of years of wind and rain.

Church officials had hoped the work would have been completed by now – with the tower having been protected by netting for three years - but plans repairs have faced delays due to several factors, including the Covid-19 pandemic and the Church of Scotland's plans for the congregation's future.

As reported recently by the Advertiser, the church's formal link with their neighbours at Helensburgh Parish Church was officially severed at the start of October, with plans in place instead to link the Rhu and Shandon congregation with their counterparts in Luss and Arrochar.

A spokesperson for the church said: “Over the past three years, you will have noticed that this familiar landmark has been wrapped in netting to prevent further deterioration.

“The original stonework has been badly affected by salt-loaded westerly winds and driving rain that we all experience in Helensburgh and Rhu and have eroded the upper levels of stone.

“We had hoped to have completed the restoration of its stonework by now but have been held up by Covid and the Church of Scotland’s proposals for our church.

“The tower really is an important landmark, both on the approach to the village, from various viewpoints and from the sea where for years it was a crucial navigation mark.”

Rhu and Shandon Church have created proposal plans for the tower and have applied for a grant from Historic Scotland – but £90,000 is still needed for scaffolding costs.

The church hopes to raise this cash over the course of nine months by hosting charity events and is planning to set up a JustGiving page to allow community members to donate online.

Recent 'nearly new' sales of ladies' clothes have raised more than £2,000 for the fund.

The spokesperson added: “We are hoping that the population of Rhu and Shandon, together with neighbouring areas will support us in our efforts to fundraise for the stonework project.

“If you can help in any way, by suggesting bright ideas for fundraising or helping with a particular event or by donations, please support us and help keep our tower landmark for future generations.”

For more information about the appeal, and how to give a donation before the JustGiving page goes live, see the Rhu and Shandon Parish Church page on Facebook, email or call 01436 820605.