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Ickworth: Baby Jack Porter is the first to be christened at Ickworth Church for almost 40 years

11:00 20 January 2014

Ollie Porter and Helen Seaton are pictured with Jack Porter for his christening at Ickworth Church.

Ollie Porter and Helen Seaton are pictured with Jack Porter for his christening at Ickworth Church.

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Family and friends turned out for a christening at a historic church at the weekend.

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What made this occasion different to others was it was the first christening at Ickworth Church, on the Ickworth estate near Bury St Edmunds, in almost 40 years.

The church is now back in use after falling into severe disrepair thanks to £1.2million restoration project spearheaded by the 8th Marquess of Bristol, Frederick Hervey, whose family have been buried there for 600 years.

On Saturday Jack Porter - the grandson of Ickworth Church co-ordinator John Porter - became the first person to be christened there since Lady Victoria Hervey in 1977.

Mr Porter said it was an incredibly special occasion - also because of his own link with the church.

He said: “That’s what I was so chuffed about. He’s the best person in the world of course - he’s our first grandchild.”

Jack’s parents are Ollie Porter - Mr Porter’s son - and Helen Seaton, who live in Fordham, near Ely.

The Reverend Michael Banyard, a vicar based at Fordham, conducted the service.

Mr Porter said people came from all over the country for the christening, with the godparents travelling over from America, but unfortunately the Marquess of Bristol could not make it.

Mr Porter said: “He is absolutely delighted that an occasion like this is happening in the newly-restored church.”

Previously, Lord Bristol said restoring the church, called St Mary’s, had been “an emotional decision” as it was the spiritual home of his family.

Six services a year can take place there. Anyone who would like to volunteer at the church should contact Mr Porter on 01284 735006.

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