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St Mary’s rises from the ashes

The Rededication and Consecration of March St Mary's Church Westry., by the Bishop of Ely The Rt Rev'd Stephen Conway ANL-140204-115213001

The Rededication and Consecration of March St Mary's Church Westry., by the Bishop of Ely The Rt Rev'd Stephen Conway ANL-140204-115213001

Four years after it was devastated by a catastrophic fire, St Mary’s Church at Westry has been rededicated.

The church, which was left with just the four outside walls standing following the blaze on March 15, 2010, has undergone a £115,000 transformation.

The church was packed on Tuesday evening for the traditional ceremony, led by the Right Rev Stephen Conway, the Bishop of Ely.

The bishop spoke about the extensive restoration work, which has also seen the church modernised for use in years to come.

The stonework has been restored by Bowmans and Coulson Building group laid on the water and installed an air sourced heat pump to provide underfloor heating in the new stone floor. Rev Anthony Chandler described the quality of their craftsmanship as “amazing”.

A balcony has been built into the back of the church with toilet facilities underneath. A side chapel or meeting room has been created and the vestry area refurbished. Heating has also been installed that is linked to the heat pump. Pride of place on the balcony is a new organ, made by Makin, and the furniture in the church is a bespoke design by Luke Hughes Furniture.

Modern technology has also been built into the building, with lighting, a projector, screen, internet, loop and speaker system in operation.

Rev Chandler said: “This is a huge amount of work. Our architect Shona McKay, of Archimage, has designed and led the restoration work so thoroughly and beautifully.

“Clearly we have designed a church, much of which is as it was, and yet has good facilities for now and in the future. We hope that the facilities will be good for both the church and the community for generations to come.”

The end of the restoration project also brings to a close Rev Chandler’s time as priest-in-charge at St Mary’s. He will now be retiring.

But he said the work does not end with the rededication of the church. It costs about £20,000 per year to run St Mary’s and he is hoping people will still support them with fundraising or donations.

 

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