New era for village church

Villagers and church members gather at the opening ceremony for the renovated St Mary Magdalene Church at Waltham EMN-161129-093848001

Villagers and church members gather at the opening ceremony for the renovated St Mary Magdalene Church at Waltham EMN-161129-093848001

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Villagers have been celebrating the re-launch of their church after a £120,000 makeover to make it more user-friendly for services and community groups.

The pews have been taken out at St Mary Magdalene at Waltham and the floor re-layed with Ancaster stone.

A new food and drink servery has been added and the toilets made more accessible for visitors.

The project, which was paid for by fundraising events and grants, represents the biggest renovation of the building since Victorian times.

To mark the work being completed a special grand opening event was held at the church on Friday evening.

Christine Carter, one of the key members of the church council team which co-ordinated the work, said: “It gives us a lot more flexibility, both for services and worship and for community events.

“For example, the children from the school have used the church for their concert and they are able to sit around in a circle on mats which they weren’t able to do when the pews were there.”

She added: “It was a beautiful building which was expensive to run when it was being used for a few hours a week but now the work has been done it can be used a lot more.”

The second phase of work is now being planned, with £40,000 required to enclose the side chapel to provide a new heated area for children to use and for meetings.

A special ceiling is required to enable bats to coninue to come and go from the church in that part of the Grade 1 listed building.