March 8 2014 Latest news:
Tuesday, December 17, 2013
A £200,000 campaign to install modern conveniences in a church with a recorded history dating back as far as AD970 is gathering pace.
St Gregory’s Church in Sudbury has a regular congregation of around 130 parishioners, and it is estimated that a further 6,000 people use the church each year for events.
Some historians believe Saint Edmund was crowned king of East Anglia in the popular church, which also attracts casual visitors throughout the year who come to see Simon of Sudbury’s head displayed in the church vestry.
However, the building currently has no toilet facilities and parts of the church, including the vestry, are being marred by clutter and damp.
Parishioners have been fundraising to pay for the refurbishment work, which will include two toilets in the tower, new storage cupboards, a screen in front of the tower and a revamped refreshments area.
According to the church’s minister, the Rev Canon Gregory Webb, the project has been under discussion for about four years. The main aim is to improve the facilities at St Gregory’s so that they are fit for purpose in 2014 while still taking into account the significance and history of the building.
Rev Webb told the EADT: “We are conscious that the church is well used by many in the community for services and it also attracts a lot of visitors during the day, many who come to pray or find a quiet space, others to see the historical parts of the building.
“So the church is very much a resource for the community and we want to ensure that it remains so for the future – and indeed is better equipped to serve the town.”
An application has been submitted for a faculty – the church equivalent of planning permission. Rev Webb continued: “If it is granted, this will allow us to approach builders with a view to commissioning the work in the coming year. Plans are on display in the back of the church so anyone who is interested can look at them.”
The work is expected to cost around £187,000 and as a result of several legacies to the church, almost £140,000 has been raised already. A funding committee will be set up to oversee the raising of the remainder.