A new campaign is under way to help restore a “national treasure” that has links to the famous Welsh hymn writer Ann Griffiths.

The appeal has been launched to raise £80,000 to fix the leaky roof at Hen Gapel John Hughes.

Custodians of the historic Pontrobert chapel says the building is in “crisis” and are appealing to people from far and wide to sponsor a slate for £10.

The roof is in such poor condition that 86-year-old custodian Nia Rhosier has placed buckets in the Grade II* building to collect the rainwater leaking through over many years. Damp problems are putting the historic books and artifacts at risk of damage.

“It’s urgent. we really need to get the job done and have the Heritage Lottery Fund awarded,” Nia said.

“This elderly custodian is rather tired of placing buckets in the chapel.”

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Inspired by the ‘Sponsor a Slate’ campaign at Y Dolydd, in Llanfyllin, Nia said she’s hoping that the appeal will have the same success by preserving the building for future generations.

They need to raise two-thirds of the total cost to repair the roof which is around £120,000. After reaching their fundraising target, the custodians are hoping to apply for the rest of the cost through CADW, the body that works to save Wales’ historic buildings, and the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Ann Griffiths had attended the old chapel where John Hughes preached, who was a lodger at Ann’s home at Dolwar Fach, in Dolanog. She looked up to him as a teacher and would ask him theological questions. John Hughes would later go to help preserve the poetry of the renowned hymn writer.

Hundreds of visitors from across Wales and beyond come to the chapel every year to learn about one of Europe’s leading religious poets.

News of the appeal has crossed the Atlantic to the United States where Welsh Americans have donated towards the fundraiser.

The committee helping to preserve the building, Cyfeillion Hen Gapel John Hughes Friends, has a website for donations that can be paid by PayPal.

  • To 'buy' a slate, donations should be sent to Beryl Vaughan, Ty Mawr, Llanerfyl, Welshpool, Powys. SY21 0JD