A weekend of celebrations was held earlier this month to mark the completion of a three-year restoration project to save an old village church from ruin.
All Saints Church in Grafham was placed on the Buildings at Risk register by English Heritage in 2013 after the then churchwarden, Hazel Powell, commissioned an architect’s study, that revealed structural problems, including rotten timber and loose roof tiles.
The Parochial Church Council was told the repair bill would be £180,000, but the blow was softened when English Heritage agreed to award the church, which dates back to 950, with a £117,000 grant. A fund-raising group called Save all Saints raised another £16,000 and the rest of the money came from grant funding and donations.
“The work was made possible thanks to support from parishioners and several large donations,” said Hazel who was one of four committee members who organised the campaign to save the Grade One listed church.
“We are absolutely delighted and also relieved that the work is now done and we can finally use and enjoy the church again. It really is fantastic, and although we are a small village, it was wonderful to see everyone pull together.”
Work started in the summer of 2013 and was finally completed in April this year after some setbacks with the building work. A fete, flower festival , with a nursery rhyme theme, and a reception to thank those who made donations, was held on July 10 in the church and a bring-and-share lunch was organised for the following day. Architect Iain Frearson organised tours of the church and ‘before’ and ‘after’ photographs iof the damage and the repairs were also displayed.