St Mary's blessed with £380,000 from its own members

St Mary's Ely

Rev Chris Hill, Christine Watson and Derek Tye from St Mary's Church reviewing the progress inside the building. - Credit: St Mary's

Churchgoers have raised a staggering £380,000 to transform St Mary’s, Ely.  

The contribution has enabled the parish council to hail “a major milestone” being reached to make the medieval building fit for the 21st century. 

The project has also attracted support from local and national charities and from East Cambridgeshire District Council. 

Amey Community Fund has chipped in £100,000 and from the Amey Community Fund and £192,000 has been pledged by East Cambridgeshire District Council.  

The ECDC funding is from Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) funds charged to developers in order to give financial assistance to projects that benefit the community. 

Contractors began digging out the floor in January and discovered six tombs under the Victorian tiled floor which delayed progress but the project is now on schedule for completion in October.  

Meanwhile St Mary’s services are being held at Bishop Woodford House Chapel in Barton Road and in the church rooms and grounds behind the church building. 

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A reinforced steel concrete raft has been laid over tombs at the west end of the church, hardcore and recycled foam glass insulation laid with under floor heating pipe work installed, ready for limecrete to be poured over the whole floor.  

Once the limecrete has dried, which takes four weeks, Ancaster stone slabs will be laid throughout the church creating an attractive and level floor surface.  

“Significant progress has been made over the past few weeks and flooring marks a major milestone,” said Rector of St Mary’s, the Rev Chris Hill.  

“We are creating an accessible, flexible and functional space, not just for worship, weddings and church services but for use seven days a week.  

“We see St Mary’s becoming a community hub where everyone feels welcome and we are delighted that by giving the project financial backing, East Cambridgeshire District Council is in agreement. 

The rector added: “There is growing demand for life skills courses - parenting, debt counselling, finance and debt management, bereavement and mental health counselling.  

“A new sound and lighting system will also enable us to host music, arts and a wide range of community events.” 

Further details of the project with photos and videos of the work carried out to date can be found at the church website here