A POPULAR vicar is planning an ‘Italian Job’ style fundraiser to fund a new community centre.

Reverend Tim Horobin and 10 of his parishioners from St James’ Church, Lower Darwen, will be sponsored to drive down to London in red, white and blue minis in tribute to the 1969 film starring Michael Caine.

The church has already raised £180,000 over the past two and half years towards renovating the church, but they now need an extra £40,000 to finish the community centre which will be jointly used by the church and St James’ Primary School.

Rev Horobin said: “We were wondering what we could do to raise the remainder of the money and we came up with this crazy idea.

“We are going to drive to London and back in 24 hours and we hope that sponsors will get behind us and help us raise the money.

“We will do the drive in April but we want to start collecting donations now and are hoping to get the sponsorship of local businesses to help out.

“The centre we want to build will be a place used jointly by the school and the church.

“We are hoping to create an inter-generational site where all members of the community can come together.”

Rev Horobin has a new-style mini and so do a couple of his parishioners, so they will be using those, plus one donated by Bowker for the trip.

Dan Theobalds, assistant headteacher at St James Primary said: “The re-development of the church into a building that will act as a hub of the community is extremely exciting and, as a school, we are hoping it will enable us to continue to build on the super relationship we have with the church.

“As a school, we regularly attend services at the church and have helped with fundraising events.

“The centre will be well utilised by the whole community.”