A CASH-STRAPPED church has an extra £15,000 in its refurbishment funds thanks to BBC Bargain Hunt star Caroline Hawley.

The popular presenter led the online Hawley Saleroom Auction at the weekend with items donated by parishioners and supporters of St Thomas’s Church, Delph.

The auction items were gathered after Rev John Rosedale, the Saddleworth team vicar, asked the congregation to donate gold, silver or costume jewellery.

In just two years the 80-strong congregation has raised a more than £400,000 for major refurbishment works at the church which is also a village community hub. However, increased costs still left them £60,000 short of the new total.

Said Rev John: “Caroline has charged no commission and as a result we have raised over £15,000. Our biggest ticket item was a bracelet that fetched £800.

“Some remedial work is required on the church but, Covid restrictions allowing, we hope to have the building back in use by both the congregation and our community groups in the very near future.

“I can honestly say I turned on the computer with anticipation and linked to the auction with some trepidation - but what excitement.

“If the bottom estimate of each item was reached we could expect somewhere in the region of £3,000 to £4,000 which for a fundraising event in a village would be a good amount and for a church a very good amount.”

An Everest Expedition 1924 postcard from Captain John Noel with 1924 cancellation and a printed relating press cutting, estimated at £30-£50, closed at £200.

“As Caroline went through the items she seemed to be reaching the top end of the estimates and beyond," continued John. "The top hats and box, pictured, had been estimated at £150- £250. It was real favourite of Caroline’s and went for £480.”

And the vicar donated a battered teddy bear he had a child estimating it would fetch £10.

“My excitement knew no bounds when he went for £55,” he said.

“A vintage blouse with deep cuffs and full sleeves estimated at £20-£40, climbed all the way to £320.

“The auction has brought in more than £15,000 with items not thought suitable for auction, but sold locally and on line we will have reached more than £16,000.

“A massive thank you to both the congregation and the local community of Delph and Saddleworth.”