Villagers in Redlingfield celebrate £71,800 church roof grant

The village of Redlingfield celebrates £71,800 grant for the roof of St Andrews Church.

The village of Redlingfield celebrates £71,800 grant for the roof of St Andrews Church. - Credit: Archant

People in a small Suffolk village are celebrating after being awarded a grant of more than £70,000 to help save their Anglo Saxon church.

The Church of St Andrew in Redlingfield, near Eye, which has less than 60 homes in the village, has been given a boost to the tune of £71,800 from the Government’s Listed Places of Worship Roof Repair Fund.

The funds will make the roof of the church, which is on the English Heritage’s at-risk register, watertight.

The grant, one of 502 from a funding package of £30million announced for urgent roof repairs for places of worship across the UK, is the start of what villagers hope will be work to make the church a community hub with toilets, a kitchen, sustainable heating and lighting and safe access from the village.

Repairing and improving the church is expected to cost about £150,000 while it is hoped around £80,000 will be spent on improving the nearby ‘doorstep green’ recreation area, so it links up with the church.

A survey carried out by the parish council revealed overwhelming support for extending the green and improving the church to better meet the needs of the village.

Redlingfield parish clerk, Janet Norman-Philips, said: “The church would be next to an enlarged doorstep green, so bringing the two together makes so much sense.

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“Our beautiful little church has been around for almost a thousand years but it is in a sorry state.

“The roof on both the nave and chancel need to be urgently replaced. All of the roof battens and many of the roof timbers are rotten. There is water coming in everywhere and the ceiling and wall plaster is falling off.

“We’ve had to rope off the western end of the nave to keep people safe. We simply have to save it but we want to do so much more with it so the people living here in 1,000 years’ time can still enjoy it.”

She added that when creating the green, the council did not think enough about future growth. “We didn’t realise how popular it was going to be and made it too small,” she added. “It’s not going to be easy or quick but if we all pull together we believe we can achieve it.”

A fundraising buffet and race night will be held at Horham Community Centre on April 11; a 1940s dance at the Red Feather Club in Horham on November 14.

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