Bovis Homes has stepped in to help a Great Barr church bounce back from the shock of being targeted by heartless thieves.
Worshippers at St Margaret's Church, which backs on to Bovis Homes development Nether Hall Park, were left stunned when two historic plaques commemorating the parish's dead in the two world wars were prised off the brick pillars supporting the entrance gate.
Now the fund-raising effort to replace the plaques, led by church warden June Aubrook and local councillor Adrian Andrew, is drawing to a close with a donation of £350 from Bovis Homes bringing them up to their £1600 target.
"To say we are thrilled by the efforts of Cllr Andrew and the generosity of Bovis Homes is an understatement," said June. "The plaques had been there as long as anyone could remember - I recall them from my own Sunday School days - and there are still relatives of the men commemorated living in the parish.
"Our fund raising efforts have gone excellently, and as well as Bovis Homes' contribution we have had great support from, among others, the Aldridge Branch of the Royal British Legion, members of the Hampstead Royal British Legion, our Explorer Scouts and Brett Quinton from Roy Quinton Funeral Directors, who will be producing the new plaques at cost price."
Cllr Andrew said: "Despite the kind of despicable individuals that caused this upset, this has actually turned into a great story about the community coming together and not being defeated."
Alex Carlin from Bovis Homes added: "We believe in being a good neighbour in the areas where we work so we were happy to help out when we were approached by Cllr Andrew and told the story of the stolen plaques. The theft was a shocking and callous action but the way local people have pulled together is a tribute to the spirit of the local people and reflects what community life is all about."