Saturday, 24 July 2021

Church raises £100,000

WORSHIPPERS at Wargrave church have raised £100,000.

WORSHIPPERS at Wargrave church have raised £100,000.

St Mary’s in Station Road has launched an appeal for £500,000 to pay for renovations and refurbishment, including a new annexe and a new heating system.

Fund-raising began after English Heritage approved the work at the 700-year-old church.

The 21st Century Project was launched last year by the Parochial Church Council.

Other improvements will include a crèche in the baptistry for children to use while their parents attend services. Bob Austen, appeal co-ordinator and former churchwarden, said: “We are in this for the long haul and as money comes in we will gradually do all the bits and pieces.

“The extension needs £350,000 so that may take a while but all the interior work costs £150,000 combined so we will complete each part of that as we get the money.”

He said that with Gift Aid, the appeal had already raised about £100,000 and applications would be made for grants and donations from trusts. There would also be a series of fund-raising events and church concerts.

The annexe will contain two meeting rooms, a café and toilets. It will be used for Sunday school and as a meeting place for community groups which currently have to use the Hannen Room, which is small.

The original plans were rejected by English Heritage in June but were approved after the church council agreed to use timber frames.

A planning application will be submitted in the next few months.

Mr Austen said: “We needed to find something which would fulfil the needs of the church but was sympathetic to the needs of English Heritage. We are very happy with what we have decided on and with everybody on side we have achieved all our goals.”

The Rev John Cook, vicar of Wargrave and Knowl Hill, said: “Our church building needs to be adapted and extended to welcome in and serve all the people God is bringing to us.

“I believe the works planned will be a great resource for our service in the community for generations to come.”

The appeal has received the backing of the Bishop of Reading, the Rt Rev Andrew Proud.

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