Church undergoes refurbishment

PUBLISHED: 11:04 21 April 2010 | UPDATED: 13:57 19 May 2010

David McKee, John Cosgrove, and Rose Dickinson survey the church repairs

David McKee, John Cosgrove, and Rose Dickinson survey the church repairs

A VILLAGE church has undergone major refurbishment for the first time in 150 years. Extensive renovations have been carried out to Steeple Morden Church during the last three months, at a cost of nearly £100,000. Repairs include the re-cladding of the spi

A VILLAGE church has undergone major refurbishment for the first time in 150 years.

Extensive renovations have been carried out to Steeple Morden Church during the last three months, at a cost of nearly £100,000.

Repairs include the re-cladding of the spire, the restoration of the bells, and the purchase of a new weather vane.

David McKee, from the Friends of the Church, said: "We had been aware for several years that the tower and steeple were in very poor repair.

"The last time major work was undertaken was back in the 1860s, and while the spire had been re-shingled with softwood back in the early 1970s, the cedar was badly weathered and loose, as were the clay tiles around the upper part of the tower.

"The spire had also been attacked by woodpeckers."

The Friends, led by chairman John Cosgrove, launched their Tower Appeal in 2008 to raise cash to fund improvements, and over the last couple of years they have held various events, including a sponsored cross country horse ride, a Bible reading marathon, and several concerts in the church.

"Such was the success of the Tower Appeal that it was decided to clad the spire with more expensive but longer-lasting oak shingles," said Mr Mckee.

"The restoration of the tower and spire, including a new weather vane and repair of the bell, has cost £60,000.

"Much of this sum was raised through the support of the local community, but we also benefited from money voted to the appeal by South Cambs District Council, our own parish council, and several charitable bodies, most notably Cambridge Historic Churches Trust."

Work has also been carried out on several of the church's external buttresses, while the chancel has been re-roofed and the east window has been replaced, taking the total bill to just under £100,000.

A service of thanksgiving for the successful completion of the work takes place this Sunday, April 25, starting at 5.30pm.

It will be conducted by curate, the Rev Phil Sharkey, with an address to be given by the Bishop of Huntingdon, the Rt Rev David Thompson.

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