December 7 2013 Latest news:
Tuesday, August 13, 2013
Vandals prosecuted for wreaking damage on Norfolk’s churches should help repair them as part of their sentence, the Archdeacon of Norwich has said.
Her call came on a bittersweet day for the county’s churches, as five churches were celebrating an £800,000 grant boost but a sixth was counting the cost of criminal damage.
The vandals smashed windows, tore down a flagpole and wrote obscenities in the visitor book of St Andrew’s Church in Stokesby, near Acle. The Ven Jan McFarlane suggested that if the vandals could see the amount of work put into churches, they might learn to appreciate them.
“My hope is if ever they catch somebody, I want to say to those judges ‘please, as part of their penalty for having done the crime, can they be asked to work on the church buildings?’
“If they worked alongside the stained glass window repairer, perhaps they would love the church as well and perhaps they wouldn’t do this sort of thing.”
Churchwarden Vivienne Fabb estimated repairs will cost “thousands of pounds”.
Churchwarden Ms Fabb said the criminal damage at Stokesby on Sunday happened between a baptism at 1pm and the caretaker returning to lock up at 6pm.
And cruelly the incident wiped out funds raised at the village fete the previous day.
“It’s just awful to think everybody was enjoying the fete on Saturday and we had a happy occasion, with a baptism, then this happened,” she said.
“We might as well have just put a match to the money raised. That was just to keep the church going.”
She said lead on the windows –some of which were inscribed and in memory of former churchwardens – was broken up.
Pews were strewn around the 13th century church, water was thrown on the floor and curtains and a flagpole were ripped down.
She is hoping to kickstart fundraising with a special event at the church on Friday, August 23.
But there was good news for other churches in the form of the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) cash – designed to help congregations address urgent repairs.
There was £93,500 for St Margaret’s Church, Hopton, £195,400 for St Ethelbert’s Church, Alby, £155,100 for St Martin’s Church, New Buckenham, £169,500 for St Mary’s Church, Burston, and £250,700 for St Peter and St Paul, Swaffham.