HUNDREDS of walkers turned out at the weekend to try and secure the future of a small West Devon Church by raising funds and by continuing to demonstrate the strength of community support.

The annual five-mile riverside walk attracted 447 people who trekked from Dunterton Church near Milton Abbot, along the River Tamar, before returning to Hardstone farm for refreshments provided by the friends of Dunterton church group,

This year’s walk has raised £3,190 towards the annual upkeep of Dunterton Church. The Friends of Dunterton Church, the walk organisers, said they were ‘absolutely delighted that walkers travelled from far and wide to take part in this year’s river walk, that everyone had a most enjoyable day, that the sun shone and that the money raised will help to secure the future of Dunterton Church.’

John Spensley, of the friends, said: “The much needed monies are for maintenance and upkeep of the church. This figure should also allow for some repointing of the walls in the church now.”

The 14th century church is Grade I listed and has been under threat of closure due to its small congregation and high maintenance costs. However, the friends group has staved off closure due to successful fund raising through the walks and other events, and by showing the strong desire for the church to remain as a centre of the community.

The walk was started by former churchwarden Arthur Vigars and has grown enormously in recent years. It attracts non-worshippers and church-goers from other parishes and former villagers with local roots.