More than £40,000 raised for church redevelopment project at Bassingbourn fun day

PUBLISHED: 06:58 11 September 2019

Revd Hannah Cleugh abseiled in her cassock. Picture: St Peter & St Paul, Bassingbourn

Revd Hannah Cleugh abseiled in her cassock. Picture: St Peter & St Paul, Bassingbourn

Archant

"Bassingbourn is leading the way in showing what can be done at a village church" - that's the view of vicar Dr Caroline Yandell after a whopping £43,000 was raised at the weekend to go towards redevelopment work of the 13th-century building.

Bishop's Teddy Bear parachutes from the tower, dressed as a bishop. Picture: St Peter & St Paul, BassingbournBishop's Teddy Bear parachutes from the tower, dressed as a bishop. Picture: St Peter & St Paul, Bassingbourn

Rev Dr Caroline Yandell was delighted at the figure raised as part of the Bassingbourn family fun day and village market on Saturday - saying it has kickstarted their fundraising for the £1 million reordering of St Peter and St Paul's.

It was ruled by Judge Anthony Leonard QC, chancellor of the Diocese of Ely, at a Consistory Court hearing last summer that major changes could be made to the building in North End - including removal of nave, pews and plinths, leveling the floor throughout, installing new lighting and underfloor heating, a kitchen, three WCs, vestry, two staircases, a lift and more.

Bishop Stephen Conway with Rev Caroline Yandell and Althea Whybrow after her abseil. Picture: St Peter & St Paul, BassingbournBishop Stephen Conway with Rev Caroline Yandell and Althea Whybrow after her abseil. Picture: St Peter & St Paul, Bassingbourn

The Bishop of Ely, The Rt Revd Stephen Conway, attended and opened the fun day alongside parish council chair Elaine Douglass. The Bishop's chaplain Rev Dr Hannah Cleugh and the Archdeacon of Cambridge, the Venerable Dr Alex Hughes, also attended and abseiled.

In total 30 people - the youngest aged 12 and the oldest in their 90s - braved going down the church tower.

Bishop Stephen giving certificate to Anne Cross after she abseiled. Picture: St Peter & St Paul, BassingbournBishop Stephen giving certificate to Anne Cross after she abseiled. Picture: St Peter & St Paul, Bassingbourn

Rev Caroline told the Crow: "Bassingbourn hasn't got a village hall or anything like that so the church is going to be a resource for the whole village to use.

"The event was a real village day as well as a church day. We had the village market, the village band, a barbecue and fun activities for children and adults alike.

Bassingbourn Village Band. Picture: St Peter & St Paul, BassingbournBassingbourn Village Band. Picture: St Peter & St Paul, Bassingbourn

"It's a staggering amount for one day and we still have money coming in. Funds raised were from abseilers' sponsorships, sales on the day, and also from donations.

"Bassingbourn is leading the way and showing what can be done in a village church. Lots of churches are struggling and Bassingbourn is a good news story. It's healthy and it's vibrant.

Archdeacon Alex Hughes. Picture: St Peter & St Paul, BassingbournArchdeacon Alex Hughes. Picture: St Peter & St Paul, Bassingbourn

READ MORE: Bassingbourn church to start fundraising for reordering project

"There's all sorts of fundraising efforts going on, with various things in the pipeline and applications for grants, but of course it would be great if there was anybody out there who could help.

"We've got everything in place in terms of all plans drawn up. There will be a big open space, different rooms used for different things, a creche facility, lots of things that will make it really useable, and warm and welcoming.

The view from the top of the tower. Picture: St Peter & St Paul, BassingbournThe view from the top of the tower. Picture: St Peter & St Paul, Bassingbourn

"We're not starting the building work until we've got sight of the money - the sooner it comes in the quicker we can get started."

There were 10 formal opponents to the works during the court case, which was heard in the church over two days. The opposition said that reordering was excessive or harmful for a small village church, and that heritage would be lost.

Abseilers at Bassingbourn church. Picture: St Peter & St Paul, BassingbournAbseilers at Bassingbourn church. Picture: St Peter & St Paul, Bassingbourn

Rev Caroline, who has been Bassingbourn vicar for six years, said: "We've moved on from the court case, so that's why it's great that it was a village event and a church event.

"We did have some opposition in the court case, but there's lots of support in the village and when the building is done I'm sure people will say 'why didn't we do this before? It's great!'."

CGI plans of what the church will look like when the building work is complete. Picture: St Peter & St Paul, BassingbournCGI plans of what the church will look like when the building work is complete. Picture: St Peter & St Paul, Bassingbourn

If anyone would like to support the project, go to www.goldengiving.com/wall/bassingbourn-parish-church. You can also search 'Bassingbourn parish church' on Facebook.

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