Gift Day to help fund work at Royston church after fire damage

The Royston church restoration is continuing - and from December the community is encouraged to tie

The Church of St John the Baptist is having one final fundraising push for improvements - Credit: Archant

A church in Royston which was severely damaged by a fire in December 2018 is having a fundraising push to make improvements following essential repairs.

The tower and roof of the Church of St John the Baptist in Melbourn Street was mostly destroyed in the fire, while smoke and water damaged most of the church's interior and its contents.

The repairs, which were carried out by specialist church restorers Bakers of Danbury, have taken over three years. During this time church work and worship has taken place at other venues around the town.

Evidence of the fire damage at Royston St John the Baptist Church, Melbourn Street after a fire insi

The Royston church was damaged in a fire in December 2018 - Credit: Picture: DANNY LOO

Restorers had to overcome a lot of complex technical, architectural, engineering, regulatory and archaeological issues, as well as the challenges of the COVID pandemic. However the work is now set to hopefully be finished in the next few months.

While the repairs have been under way, the church council had a vision to make the restored building more suited to the needs of the 21st century, both for worship and for community use.

The church council is holding a Gift Day on Saturday, March 26, as a final fundraising push to raise money for improvements.

The pews, which were damaged beyond repair, will be replaced by moveable chairs, creating a large and flexible space. A new audio-visual system for music, photos, graphics and film will be installed, along with a new organ and modern lighting.

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A new boiler will serve an underfloor heating system, the kitchen and toilets have been redesigned, and better disabled access will be provided.

The community will once again be able to use the church for worship and for life events such as christenings, weddings and funerals. There will also be a large warm space available for local groups to use, which will have catering facilities and be equipped with the latest technology.

New funding has to be raised for these improvements, and much has been given already thanks to the generosity of Royston's people, businesses and voluntary organisations, as well as through the church's 'sponsor a chair' scheme.

Anyone who wishes to take part in the Gift Day is invited to come to the church between 10am and 3pm to chat to church officials about the plans and support the appeal.