The parishioners of a Marlborough church have clubbed together to raise enough cash to pay for their own vicar.

St George’s in Preshute only had a part timer in post as diocesan funds didn’t stretch far enough for someone full time.

So when team rector Rev Chris Smith stumbled across musical vicar Pete Sainsbury in London, he began a recruitment and fundraising campaign to match fund the diocese and get him on board full time.

Just a month later, Rev Pete is in post, and the Marlborough Anglican coffers have been boosted to the tune of £57,000 thanks to donations from parishioners.

“It’s quite amazing,” said Rev Pete. “ They funded me without knowing who I was.

“I met Chris last year and he was keen to bring my musical interests and worship together here to encourage more younger people along.”

Originally from Dublin, Mr Sainsbury left for London and the music industry.

“I grew up playing piano and church organ, then got into playing with bands. I was part of the club circuit in London, more a hangover of the Brit Funk scene in the 80’s.”

He will oversee St George’s and will also develop a new service in St Mary’s in Marlborough to encourage younger people, which he hopes to launch in the new year.

“There is a whole world of contemporary worship music to choose from.

“I’d like to bring in musicians on keyboards and guitars, using loops. Maybe use a drummer. Maybe we could also do a community choir," he said.

Jeremy York, deputy churchwarden. said: “It was a very good response. That is because people want to keep the church going.

“There is a great spirit here. Some people don’t even come to church and contribute financially as they feel it is an important part of the community.”

The cash will help keep the Rev Sainsbury in post for the next three years.