Bishop opens church's new community room
Ten years hard work and a fundraising effort totalling £435,000 came to fruition when the Bishop of Norwich dedicated a new community room extension at the historic St Mary’s Church in Hellesdon on Sunday March 25.
St Mary’s dates from the 14th century, although there was a church on the site before the Domesday Book was created and special efforts have been made to ensure the extension is in keeping with the existing building. The new space will make room for meetings and socialising, all sorts of wider community activities plus it includes the church’s first indoor toilet in 1000 years.
Church Warden Brian Cleland said: “Many people have worked for well over 10 years to get us to this stage and we are now working hard to finish the fitting out of our new space so that we can put it into daily use.”
The funds for the Extension have been raised by the Friends of St Mary’s and the church congregation supported by generous grants from a number of organisations including a contribution from Broadland District Council of £50,000, with further grants from The Veolia Environmental Trust (through the Landfill Communities Fund) and the Geoffrey Watling Charity as well as a range of local and church charities. Generous contributions have also been received from individual donors within the Parish.
Church Warden Ginny Smith said: “We are also planning a community celebration tea party on Easter Saturday (April 7) between 2pm and 4pm and hope that all those people or groups that have supported us along the way will be able to join us on the day. The focus of the Extension is to be a resource to support the whole of Hellesdon and if you would like to discuss future use of the building please contact me on 01603 743290.”
Pictured top is the new community room at St Mary's Hellesdon and, above, the Bishop of Norwich, at the official opening.