A PROJECT is under way to come to the rescue of a grade two listed church in Tabley.

St Paul’s in Chester Road separated from its sister church St John’s last year as the High Legh congregation had become big enough to sustain itself.

But this has left the Tabley church in jeopardy, the church having already been struggling as it is ‘hidden’ alongside the busy A556.

At present, there are usually around a dozen worshippers for each service, but once it was just four people.

Rev Susan Talbot has been personally appointed by Bishop Robert Atwell to help reverse the fortunes of the church.

She said: “There was a great fear of it being closed, but they’re a determined bunch of people here.

“My first reaction was how on earth can I help? I’ve passed here thousands of times, and didn’t know there was a church here.

“The road is a great challenge as there’s a manic rush of traffic right outside, so we’re working out how to deal with that and the lack of parking.

“I’ve been in conversations with Little Chef to see if there’s anything we can work out between us.”

Rev Talbot held her first service at Easter, and by summer 2012 she had committed to a project until 2016 to revive the church.

The former BBC Radio 4 presenter added: “I can’t promise anything to people or the bishop, but I’m giving it three years.

“We want it to be a resource for people and a power for good.”

Around £1,500 has already been spent to make St Paul’s, which was built in the 1850s, more visible, including a new noticeboard in gold leaf and lights in the trees.

Rev Talbot, who was previously an associate priest at Bowdon Parish Church, will also be writing to Open Churches Trust, which is championed by Andrew Lloyd Webber.

Bishop Atwell said: “Hats off to Sue Talbot and the people at Over Tabley for the way they are renewing the life of their church and putting it at the service of their local community.

“I am delighted at the surge of energy and enthusiasm that has kindled a new vision for St Paul’s.”

Rev Talbot added: “It’s a small church with little money that’s learning to be independent.

“It’s a gamble, a little adventure really and it may or may not work. We’re going for broke, and giving it everything we’ve got.”

Anyone who would like to donate to the St Paul’s project should write care of treasurer Judy Hancock, Field Cottage, Old Hall Lane, Tabley.