£200,000 renovation for historic church
A MAJOR £200,000 renovation project is being launched at Stretham s historic 14th Century St James Church to bring it into the 21st Century. New toilets and kitchen area will be provided and pews are being removed from the back of the church to create a
A MAJOR £200,000 renovation project is being launched at Stretham's historic 14th Century St James' Church to bring it into the 21st Century.
New toilets and kitchen area will be provided and pews are being removed from the back of the church to create a meeting room.
The floor is being lowered to provide access for wheelchair users and a new first floor is being installed for the bell ringers who will reach it by the tower stairway.
At the moment, the church, which can hold 300 people, has just one cold tap and it was last renovated in Victorian times when major building work was carried out.
Parishioners have launched a fund-raising drive to help pay for the renovations which they hope will begin in March and take around six months to complete.
For four months of the work, Sunday services will take place in Stretham's Parish Room and funerals will be held at Little Thetford Church. Mid week services will continue to take place at St James'.
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A £5,000 grant has been secured from the Ely and Newmarket Methodist Circuit, £2,000 from the landfill tax charity WREN and a further £200 from the Old Churches Trust with other grant applications still to be decided.
Vicar, the Rev Pauline Scott said: "It's a lovely church. We have got to upkeep the building and pay the overhead expenses on it so we might as well maximise its use for the village. We want to develop the church to make it better for the community."
"On a normal Sunday morning, we don't seat 300 people so by taking out the pews the space will be more flexible. We can bring in chairs for larger gatherings but can also have lunches in the church."
Fund-raising events at the church include a coffee morning with Fair Trade stall on Tuesday, January 15, from 10.30 till noon; a concert by the Salvation Army Band at 7.30pm on Saturday, January 19; an evening with Max's Angels, an instrumental group playing light classical music on Saturday, January 26 at 7.30pm - tickets £5 including refreshments and a country and rock nostalgia evening on February 9 at 7.30pm.