By Monica Gibson

CARING bosses at a busy car dealership have helped a church congregation ‘raise the roof’ – to the tune of £70,000.

Phoenix Cars, based in Paisley, donated a new Suzuki Celerio SZ-2 to a fundraising raffle organised by the congregation at St John’s Church, in Barrhead.

It was the star prize as the raffle was drawn at the inaugural Diocese of Paisley fundraising ball.

Other items up for grabs included a zucchetto worn by Pope Francis.

Around £17,000 was raised through the raffle, which helped to push the total from the evening to £74,000.

And the cash has provided a major boost to the congregation at St John’s, who were left facing a hefty repair bill for urgent roof repairs to their church hall.

The ball was held at the Doubletree Hilton Hotel, in Glasgow, where Michelle Davidson from Barrhead was drawn as the lucky winner of the Suzuki Celerio.

Eddie McCafferty, of Phoenix Cars, said “We were delighted to support this local raffle.

“I know Michelle will love the car as it offers great economy and the Celerio is one of our most popular models.”

Runners-up in the raffle received cash prizes of £1,000, £500 and £250 respectively.

The zucchetto – a white skullcap worn by the Pontiff – was auctioned on the night and fetched a whopping £23,000, courtesy of former Celtic director Lord Willie Haughey and his wife, Lady Susan.

Father Paul Brady, parish priest at St John’s Church, is hoping the Diocese of Paisley fundraising ball will become an annual event, with money raised to support a variety of worthy causes in the local area over the coming years.

He said: “We had around 200 people join us on the night and it was a wonderful, happy occasion.

“There were a few tables from other parishes and it was very nice for them to join us. There were also family tables and company tables.

“We have to thank John McGuire and all at Phoenix Cars for their generosity and to Schola Benedicti for giving us the skullcap.

“We have set a fundraising total of more than £100,000, so there is still more money to be raised, but I am a very happy parish priest.”