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Long Bennington Church receives funds for essential repairs

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A village church has received funding support from the Lottery to carry out essential structural repairs to the building.

After receiving an initial grant of £16,900 from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) to allow the planning and design of the work to be undertaken last year, the Parochial Church Council (PCC) at St Swithun’s Church in Long Bennington has managed to secure a further £142,800.

The grant will pay for internal and external repairs on the north aisle wall, the east chancel wall and will improve associated drainage.

Repairs will also be made to the Chancel roof supporting beams and the whole area will be re-roofed.

The church will be closed from today (Sunday) until August in order for the work to be carried out.

The PCC held an award announcement event at the church yesterday (Thursday) to announce the funding, which was attended by everyone involved in the project, members of the local village community and representatives from local businesses.

Sylvia Andrews, authorised lay minister, said: “St Swithun’s Church has been a presence in the lives of the people of Long Bennington for hundreds of years and it is our responsibility to ensure that this continues for hundreds of years more. We are grateful to the Heritage Lottery Fund for their assistance in helping to maintain this beautiful building for future generations.”

Mollie Gardiner, a resident in Long Bennington added: “Without the funds from those who play the Lottery, the village could have lost its church. We cannot afford to lose its presence and influe nce and the many events that the PCC organises. “

Phil Owen, who also lives in the village was also delighted with the grant, adding: “It feels like the whole community has just had a major win.”

Gareth Dawkins, chair of Long Bennington Parish Council, added: “The award will benefit the whole community over the coming years. The parish council is grateful to all lottery players who have made this important award possible and thereby helped to sustain the local way of life for many years to come.”

Rev Harriet Orridge, vicar at St Swithun’s Church, is pleased with the community effort.

She said: “The church is a community facility, celebrating all life events as well as hosting special concerts, displays and talks. It is fantastic that the whole community, through playing the lottery, has contributed to repairing the building so that we can be here for another 1,000 years.”

The PCC at St Swithun’s Church embarked on a range of projects three years ago costing in excess of £250,000 to repair the church with the aim of sustaining its ministry and place in the local community for years to come.

A new church path and associated lighting was installed over the summer of 2017, whilst a major restoration of the organ was completed around a year ago. New internal lighting was installed at the end of last year.

There will be a number of events planned to celebrate the reopening including a service at the end of September and a flower festival with the theme ‘all creatures great and small.’

For more information, visit: www.hlf.org.uk

Jumping for joy: Phil Owen, Hilda Owen Joy Jordan Jeannie Day Harriet Orridge Neil Rathbone John Jeffries David Andrews and Kevin Barrett. (7490259)
Jumping for joy: Phil Owen, Hilda Owen Joy Jordan Jeannie Day Harriet Orridge Neil Rathbone John Jeffries David Andrews and Kevin Barrett. (7490259)

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