A RUNDOWN Neath Valley church is being brought back to life thanks to the continuing support from the community.
Work began on St David's Church in Resolven more than 12 months ago and the restoration of the exterior of the building is nearing completion.
Thousands of pounds needed for essential repairs were raised at the start and fundraising efforts in the community have been non-stop.
Angela Rees, a member of the steering group set up to tackle the fundraising, said the project had been very successful so far.
"We are truly amazed at the progress we have made in 18 months and are confident that the restoration of the outside of the church will be completed in the spring," she said.
"The church is looking lovely and everyone is commentating about how great it is to see it restored to its original stonework.
"The progress is down to generous donations from current members and former members who no longer live locally.
"The support from the community has been outstanding and all our fundraising events are well supported."
Mrs Rees said one of their last events in November was a tea dance held in the rugby club.
"It was the first tea dance ever to be held in the village," she said
The Reverend Andrew Davies, who was appointed the new vicar of the church in September, has become an active member of the steering group.
"I have seen the enthusiasm not just from the congregation but from the wider community to ensure the work is completed as quickly as possible," he said.
"It is great to be involved with this project. There is a massive difference with the external look of the building.
"The next part will be the interior where we will be getting all the old plaster removed to see what condition the stonework is underneath."
Crisis talks were held in January 2011 to find out what was the best option for the church — closure or tackling essential repairs.
Residents said they wanted to save it, and it was agreed with church leaders that a fundraising campaign would be launched to raise the cash needed to upgrade the church and church hall.
Repairs for the building, part of which dates back to 1850, were predicted to cost between £105,500 and £124,500.
A gift day kicked off the fundraising in June 2011 and more than £10,000 was collected thanks to kindhearted residents.
Since then several fundraisers have been held, the last was one on Friday at the church hall which included entertainment from The Skewen and Tonmawr Ladies Choir.
The next event will be a Christmas tea at the church this Friday at 3pm.