It has taken more than a year and a half of campaigning and attracted support of no less than an Arabian sheik but Godolphin Cross has finally realised its dream of buying the village chapel.

The village community association announced this week that it was the proud owners of the former Godolphin Cross Chapel, which closed for Sunday services in April last year.

It was also doubling up, however, as the home of two youth groups, a gardening club and the What’s on Wednesday group, a lunch and activity club for older people, as well as the meeting place for the Women’s Institute, a regular village coffee morning and a part-time Post Office service.

As a result the Godolphin Cross Community Association launched a fundraising appeal for £90,000 towards the £350,000 total cost.

A spokesperson for the campaign said: "The odds were very much against us in the beginning. Through the generosity of others, both locally and from around the world, along with hours of hard work, support and dedication from many people, we can finally say that Godolphin Cross Community Association own the former Chapel."

They have been helped in no small way by Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, prime minister of the United Arab Emirates, who contributed an undisclosed amount after being contacted by the association due to links dating back to the 18th century, when the second earl of Godolphin bred the horse Godolphin Arabian, from which all the Sheikh’s horses are descended.

The building will now be known as The Old Chapel and will continue to be used by the community for activities and events, with the aim of making it available for all.

Fundraising now begins again for renovations to the building to make it better suited to its new role in the community.

The community association added: "Thanks so much for the support from everyone far and wide. We appreciate all the donations made to us; without them this success certainly would not have happened."