The last time that 96-year-old Peter Icely stood in St Paul's Anglican Church in Carcoar, the church that his great grandfather Thomas Icely paid for in the late 1840s, he was in his 30s.
Now more than 60 years later Mr Icely has returned with his three children Simon, David and Elizabeth to help ensure the church stays where Thomas Icely intended, firmly within the community's hands.
Simon Icely said he only heard about the fate of the church in January and with his father's and siblings' consent, began planning to help keep his great-great grandfather's legacy alive.
"I was incredibly angry when I found out what was being planned," he said.
"We know that those that were abused need redress, but why should the Carcoar community suffer because of it?
"Thomas Icely built this church for the people of Carcoar and for the church to then take it back off them, I think that's wrong and the family feels very strongly about that."
The church is being sold by the Bathurst Anglican Diocese to make redress for historic child abuse claims.
From a street in Orange and the main street of Canowindra to mining sites around Lithgow, Thomas Icely's surname is scattered throughout the central west reflecting the wealth and influence he had.
His four oldest direct descendants are using some of that wealth to keep the name enshrined in the church's history, donating $70,000 towards the purchase of the church.
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"Carcoar and the district were very good to Thomas Icely and with some of that inheritance we're going to give back to the community who have been looking after the building for the last 50 years," he said.
Simon Icely said his family doesn't want to see an individual turn the Edmund Blackett designed church into a commercial venture when the community itself gains to benefit from its survival.
"Carcoar is bouncing back and imagine being able to have a wedding in this beautiful church and a reception down at the School of Arts," he said.
The grave just outside the door had all caved in and they were having a Corpus Christi procession.Peter Icely on his memories of the St Paul's Church in Carcoar.
For Peter Icely his memories of the church are still sharp and a slab of concrete just outside the entrance sparked him to life.
"The grave just outside the door had all caved in and they were having a Corpus Christi procession," he said.
"They wanted the grave filled in and Sir Kelso King wanted me to come up here and fill it in with concrete and put a slab on top of it."
The directors of the St Paul's Carcoar Association have until March 16 this year to raise $450,000 to buy their town's church.
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