A DISUSED church, usually seen only by rail passengers passing Woodwalton, is among the nation s favourite churches, according to a new book. St Andrew s Church, which stands isolated in fields close to the East Coast mainline railway, about a mile north
A DISUSED church, usually seen only by rail passengers passing Woodwalton, is among the nation's favourite churches, according to a new book.
St Andrew's Church, which stands isolated in fields close to the East Coast mainline railway, about a mile north of the village, has been closed for 40 years.
But it is again to be thrust into the spotlight as St Andrew's will feature on the cover - and inside - a new book called The Nation's Favourite Churches.
Since the railway opened in 1850, the 13th century church has been an iconic landmark feature for the thousands of rail travellers who pass it each day.
One of the passengers, Andrew Barr, a producer on the BBC's Songs of Praise programme, has now included St Andrew's in his book.
The cover image was taken by Robin Lee, a founder member of the Friends of St Andrew's, a local volunteer group which looks after the church for the London-based Charity, the Friends of Friendless Churches.
John Chance, chairman of the Friends of St Andrew's, said: "I hope the book will bring the church to the attention of a national audience and help us raise funds. We need £250,000 to address the church's serious structural problems."
St Andrew's closed in 1967 and went into decay before being taken over in 1979 by the Friends of Friendless Churches. The building was quickly made secure and watertight but for the next 20 years, with little local interest or support, nature gradually took over both the church and churchyard.
In November 2000, a group of local people started restoring the churchyard and then the church interior. In spring 2004, the building was able to host its first service of worship for nearly 40 years. There have now been nine services with an average congregation of 65 people.
The church has to be locked but has been open on heritage open days and during the past six years some 1,000 people, many inspired by fleeting glimpses from trains, have visited it.
INFORMATION: Accompanied visits to St Andrew's Church, which is a Grade II* listed building, can be arranged by contacting John Chance on 01487 832011. The Nation's Favourite Churches is published by Lion Hudson, price £14.99. Contact The Friends of Friendless Churches on 0207 236 3934 or e-mail email@example.com