Vandals attack royal church
VANDALS have caused around £6,000-worth of damage to a medieval church on the Royal estate at Sandringham, Norfolk, it emerged today.In two separate attacks a stained glass window pane and plain windows near the entrance have been smashed, it was revealed.
VANDALS have caused around £6,000-worth of damage to a medieval church on the Royal estate at Sandringham, Norfolk, it emerged today.
In two separate attacks a stained glass window pane and plain windows near the entrance have been smashed, it was revealed.
The attacks have left the church with a cash problem.
The Parochial Church Council's cash shortage meant that it could not afford to set up a public address system so that today's church service could be broadcast to the 600-strong crowd outside.
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"Money is a problem and we have got lots of expensive repairs," said Sandringham rector Jonathan Riviere.
"We had a break-in at the end of August when a panel of a stained glass window portraying Christ was chiselled out and broken.
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"They got into the church but fortunately the alarms, which are connected to a police station, went off and the police were here quickly and nothing was taken.
"In a separate incident the windows near the entrance were smashed. At the moment they have no glass in them.
"The cost of those repairs is going to be about £6,000 in total.'
He said the Victorian pane of stained glass was being pieced together from its broken pieces and should be back in the church by Easter.
The rector went on: "We are a parish church like any other in the country and money is tight, as it is with all churches.
"As a result the PCC made the decision not to have the public address system for today's service or for any other services over the period while the Royal Family are here.
"It would be nice to be able to do that but we have to be practical with our resources. The Queen knows of the situation.
"It costs over £600 to have a public address system for the season and the PCC has made the decision not to spend that money.
"We are not in debt but we do not have a lot of funds available.'
Many members of the public were disappointed to discover that today's service was not being broadcast and as a result the crowd could not sing along with the carols.
"We have missed the music,' said Marilyn Cole, of Thetford, Norfolk.
"If they had a collection and charged £1 per person they could have the music.
"It is not the same without it. It's lost its touch.
"We would be happy to make a donation. That is what we come for. The Christmas spirit and the service.'
The rector also revealed to the press a memorial which has been inlaid in a wall of the church in tribute to the Queen Mother.
The memorial contains bronze and marble plaques of the Queen Mother and her husband George VI.
It was dedicated in November at a service attended by the Queen.