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A hard-up church has had its prayers answered after a mystery donor came forward with a £200,000 gift to help solve its financial troubles.
Prayers were held with small groups of parishioners during which the money worries at All Saints' Church in Milford on Sea, Hampshire, were mentioned.
To the vicar's surprise, an anonymous benefactor then donated £3,000, and later another Good Samaritan came forward to hand over £200,000.
In a sheet handed to the congregation explaining the gift, the main donor wrote:
''Before this matter of financial need was raised I know God prompted me to 'put my hand in my pocket'.
''So it is with great joy that I have given this gift of £200,000 for the continuing work among our young people.
''We have seen some of the tremendous work which is being done, and this gift is a public expression of my appreciation.''
The Rev Dominic Furness, 59, said it was a ''wonderful gift'' which had moved some of the 250-strong congregation to tears at the Grade I-listed Norman church.
Mr Furness, the father of two grown-up sons, said today:
''We had gently, and not with the whole congregation, held small prayer groups where we mentioned our financial need.
''It was out of that that we first had an anonymous donor come forward who gave us £3,000, and subsequently another donation come in for £200,000.
''Both people who made the donations had approached our treasurer. I have no idea who they are.
''After all this happened, we gave a little sheet to everyone on the Sunday explaining what had happened and included a passage from the main donor.
''The feeling here is of great joy. It's a wonderful gift. One has seen God provide in other ways before but not to this scale. We feel a sense now of anticipation because God has given us something special.''
He said the windfall would be used to continue the church's work with young people and families in the New Forest community it serves.