A FUNDRAISING drive is under way to save an historic parish church near Ullapool for the community.
Clachan Church at Lochbroom closed as a place of worship in 2016 after the Church of Scotland trustees took the decision to sell it.
But the 200-year-old kirk, which stands at the head of Loch Broom, is held in great affection by local people and a trust was formed in a bid to retain it for the community.
After a lengthy wait, Clachan Lochbroom Heritage Trust has now heard that it will be given the chance to buy the building by the General Trustees of the Church of Scotland in Edinburgh.
Clachan Church is the oldest continuously used site in the area and a place of worship has stood there for 800 years.
The current church was built in 1817 and, although needing refurbishment work, the a surveyor’s report commissioned by the trust states that it is in a reasonable state of repair.
The burial ground will continue as an active graveyard with a likely extension required soon as many people, not just in the local area, have strong connections to the church and have relatives in the burial ground.
Joint trust secretary Robyn Dutton said:
"The Lochbroom Parish Church at Clachan is hopefully on its way to becoming a community asset in the ownership of the trust. We are hopeful that soon there will be a new beginning.
"The trust envisages the church being used for services again, for weddings, funerals and other religious purposes.
"Many local people will remember the Christmas carol services held from 2013 to 2015 when the church was decorated with candles and greenery and filled with people. Some 200 people attended in 2015 and we want to see that happen again.
"Members also want it to be used as a community resource for concerts, history exhibitions, arts and crafts displays and any other appropriate use that the community may suggest."
The trust now needs to raise around £200,000 to purchase the church building and to pay for repairs and ongoing costs.
Robyn Dutton said: "We are asking for donations from within our local community and further afield. We also hope that the wide diaspora around the world will want to contribute and to visit and find links and roots
"We look forward to hearing from all of those out there who want to save this historic Church for our community."
Donations can be made to the trust’s Royal Bank of Scotland account - sort code 83 28 01, account number 00128109.
Cheques payable to Clachan Lochbroom Heritage Trust can be sent to Clachan Lochbroom Heritage Trust, 26 Argyle Street, Ullapool IV26 2UB.
The trust can also be contacted by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
It has a facebook page Friends of Clachan Lochbroom.