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Gallery: Pupils put pen to paper to write the headlines for major Wisbech church project



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Pupils at a Wisbech school have been learning more about a project aimed at making the town's historic St Peter's Church fit for the 21st century.

Year six children at the Orchards Academy were given a guided tour of the 900-year-old church, which has undergone major renovations thanks to the National Lottery Heritage Fund, which donated over £400,000 towards the £660,000 project.

As part of the scheme, which has not only seen major repairs carried out to the church roof, stonework and drainage but also the installation of a new kitchen and toilets, was to get the town community involved.

Orchards School visit to St Peter's church. (55089869)
Orchards School visit to St Peter's church. (55089869)

Pivotal to that drive were the children at a number of the town's primary schools who have worked with the St Peter's Church team to initially highlight the plight of the church, and now as the four year project draws to a close, to put the spotlight on all that has been achieved.

Leading the St Peter's team is church treasurer and project co-ordinator Val Spriggs, who has visited the schools over the past three years to talk to pupils about the 'Church of the Future Scheme' and enrol their help in promoting the community side of the project - a requirement of the National Lottery when allocating funds.

Mrs Spriggs together with the church's vicar the Rev Canon Matthew Bradbury and others gave the Orchards Academy pupils a tour of the church, highlighting the work that has been completed.

Orchards School visit to St Peter's church. (55089872)
Orchards School visit to St Peter's church. (55089872)

They also got to learn more about the church's history during the visit last week.

Then on Wednesday (2) Mrs Spriggs and Fenland Citizen journalist Sarah Cliss went into school to help the children compose news articles about their visit to the church and the project itself.

The pupils were encouraged to write about the latest developments with the project, which is expected to draw to a close in the next six to seven weeks.

Orchards School visit to St Peter's church...Revd Canon Matthew Bradbur. (55089874)
Orchards School visit to St Peter's church...Revd Canon Matthew Bradbur. (55089874)

St Peter's will then be looking to its future with plans already in hand for a special event this summer in memory of Lesley Mardle, who was part of the church team and instrumental in drawing up early preparations for a summer festival.

Mrs Spriggs explained to the pupils that holding events such as a summer festival, art exhibitions and concerts were now part of the church's aim of opening its doors to the wider community.

It has also started holding regular coffee mornings which have proved popular with generations of all ages from mums with young children to older people who have been left isolated during the pandemic.

Orchards School visit to St Peter's church..Val Spriggs... (55089873)
Orchards School visit to St Peter's church..Val Spriggs... (55089873)

"St Peter's Church is for everyone, it belongs to the whole town, and it will be wonderful to see more people using it and enjoying this very special building. The coffee mornings have proved really popular, we are basically offering free coffee and company to whoever wants to come along," she told them.

The pupils were enthusiastic about highlighting the success of the project and worked hard to produce newspaper articles on the subject.

The aim is to publish some of the children's work in the Citizen in the coming weeks. The work of the Orchards pupils, together with that from the other participating schools, St Peter's and Ramnoth Road will also be part of an exhibition in the church.

Orchards School visit to St Peter's church..Val Spriggs... (55089848)
Orchards School visit to St Peter's church..Val Spriggs... (55089848)
Orchards School visit to St Peter's church. (55089870)
Orchards School visit to St Peter's church. (55089870)
Orchards School visit to St Peter's church. (55089871)
Orchards School visit to St Peter's church. (55089871)
Orchards School visit to St Peter's church..Val Spriggs... (55089847)
Orchards School visit to St Peter's church..Val Spriggs... (55089847)

Some of the work carried out by the schoolchildren in previous years included creating an online guide to the church and its treasures and that involved them taking images and writing the information aimed at younger visitors to St Peter's.

At the end of Wednesday's activities Mrs Spriggs praised the Orchards' pupils for their listening skills, their imaginative questions and their work in writing their newspaper articles.

She said: "It has been an absolute pleasure to be here this morning with Mrs Cliss and to see your work. It was also a delight to give you a tour of the church so you could see what has been going on there for yourselves and for you to learn about its history."

Orchards School visit to St Peter's church. (55089850)
Orchards School visit to St Peter's church. (55089850)


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