South Hill Bat Project was thrilled to be nominated for an award from the Bat Conservation Trust, for work with Bats in Churches. Church Warden Miranda Lawrance-Owen stated how affirming this was for the work being done with our bats.
The campaign to help local bats keep the roof over their heads, was launched in August and has had an amazing response.
An article in the church Times stated:
Just before the £30,000 project to repair the roof began at St Sampson’s, South Hill, in Callington, near Saltash, it was discovered in May that two families of bats, pipistrelles and regionally rare Natterer’s bats, had set up a maternity wing in the roof. Work was suspended for a survey, and subsequent alterations to the plan to accommodate the legally protected animals.
Judith Ayers, project coordinator said:
“The £6,000 target is becoming a reality with £3,700 already secured through our sponsor a bat campaign. We now have bats named Eeyore, Sampson, Daisy, Brent, Acrobat, Batman and many more. Supporters are from all around the globe, with intertest as far away as Melbourne!”
There has been welcome support from celebrity Chris Packham, well know naturalist. He has personally sponsored a bat and named it Botham, as he said in his Tweet “he was quite handy with a bat.” His support and sharing on his social media has considerably increased the amount raised and the profile of the campaign.
St Sampson’s Church, South Hill where the project is situated, has recently received it’s bat mitigation licence and the urgent roof works can now begin, being sensitive to the resident bats who have finished breeding for this year. Some bat boxes will be sited to house any bats found in the roof, whilst works are being done, with an ecologist to oversee their safety.
The first bat talk has taken place with local bat expert Tony Atkinson telling the packed church all about the amazing habits of bats. There was even a special fly by of two bats as he was finishing speaking. The whole evening was bat themed with bat cakes and crocheted bats to buy. And to make the evening extra special it was announced that Tony had won an award from the Bat Conservation Trust. More talks, a bat walk and a bat box building workshop are planned for the spring.