Surrey mosque helps raise funds for Tilford village church

Scaffolding inside the church
The church has raised more than £70,000, but it is hoped Sunday’s event will help reach the final target

A mosque is aiming to raise thousands of pounds and “put smiles on faces” by helping to save a village church. All Saints Church in Tilford was deemed unsafe when parts of its ceiling collapsed in October 2021. It needed £110,000 for restoration work. A charity run, hosted by the Ahmadiyya Muslim Youth Association (AMYA) representing the Mubarak Mosque, is aiming to help reach the target. Imam Sabah Ahmedi, 28, said projects like this could “help build bridges”. The interfaith event on Sunday invited residents and churchgoers to take part in a 5k or 10k run on Tilford Village Green.

Mr Ahmedi, one of Britain’s youngest Imams, said: “It’s a fundamental obligation on all Muslims to help their neighbours, regardless of their background. “Initiatives like this help to build bridges and put smiles on faces, especially in the challenging circumstances.”

Sabah Ahmedi, 28, (left) who is one of Britain's youngest Imams, with Charlotte Mathias, treasurer at All Saints Church in Tilford, Surrey
Imam Sabah Ahmedi said it was a “fundamental obligation” of Muslims to help their neighbours

Work on the 150-year-old Grade II listed church has to be completed by a heritage expert able to work with traditional lime plaster. To date, the church has raised more than £70,000 and restoration work is nearing completion, but it is hoped Sunday’s event will help reach the final target. Church treasurer Charlotte Mathias said raising the funds had been a “daunting” task. She added: “I hope this occasion will give us the opportunity to shine a light on how religious harmony can bring people together.”

AMYA helped organise the event as part of its Mercy 4 Mankind initiative. Luqman Bajwa, lead organiser of Mercy 4 Mankind charity events, said: “This is something unique and special. “Helping to rebuild a church for us as Muslims is something that is motivated by the life of the Prophet Muhammad, who instructed Muslims to protect all places of worship. “To see the local church back to its full glory will be very rewarding for all of us.”