Village community set to benefit from four-month long church renovation

The restoration of St Marys Church in Bentley has been made possible thanks to various grants and donations Picture...

The restoration of St Marys Church in Bentley has been made possible thanks to various grants and donations Picture: PROMINENT PR - Credit: PROMINENT PR

Villagers in Bentley are set to benefit from new community facilities following a four-month long renovation of St Mary’s Church.

A new kitchen has been fitted at the church, as well as a new organ and accessible toilet Picture: PROMINENT PR

A new kitchen has been fitted at the church, as well as a new organ and accessible toilet Picture: PROMINENT PR - Credit: PROMINENT PR

The church, part of the Diocese of Ipswich and St Edmundsbury, underwent months of renovations after receiving funding from the National Churches Trust.

Carried out throughout the pandemic, it is hoped the new accessible toilets, baby changing facilities and modern kitchen will help benefit local people in the village.

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Reverend Annette Shannon, rector of the North Samford Benefice, said she is excited for the community to make use of the facilities following the end of coronavirus lockdown.

The Rev Annette Shannon has undertaken various community projects during lockdown Picture: DIOCESE OF ST EDMUNDSBURY AND...

The Rev Annette Shannon has undertaken various community projects during lockdown Picture: DIOCESE OF ST EDMUNDSBURY AND IPSWICH - Credit: DIOCESE OF ST EDMUNDSBURY AND IP

Rev Shannon said: “We are extremely grateful for the funding we received from the National Churches Trust, without it and other private donations, works like this would not have been possible.


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“This is a great example of churches adapting and moving forward to ensure they are inclusive and accessible for all members of its communities.

“Covid-19 has dramatically changed our lives and while this year has been particularly tough on everyone, we are thrilled to share some good news and even more excited for members of the community to make use of these excellent facilities.”

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Bury St Edmunds-based businesses Valiant & Son and Whitworth Co-Partnership worked together to help complete the works, which also included fitting new windows in the north of the church, a new organ – and creating a new Sunday school room.

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Huw Edwards, vice president of the National Churches Trust, said he is delighted to have helped the Grade II-listed church be revived.

Mr Edwards said: “The UK’s historic churches and chapels are a vital part of our national heritage. During the coronavirus pandemic churches are doing so much to help vulnerable local people and boost morale.

“Many churches need to carry out urgent repairs and install modern facilities to ensure their buildings can continue to be used well into the future. But the cost of this work is often far beyond what most congregations can pay for themselves.

“So, I’m delighted that St Mary’s Church, Bentley is being helped with a £10,000 National Churches Trust Grant. The work on the installation of toilet and kitchen facilities into the church will help secure the future of a historic building and help it to better serve its community.”

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