Church ruins project at Hopton is celebrated in style at official opening ceremony
PUBLISHED: 14:21 25 April 2017 | UPDATED: 14:21 25 April 2017
It was hailed as a “momentous day” for an east coast village.
After years of hard work, a major conservation project was celebrated as applause echoed out around the Hopton Ruined Church.
The St Margaret’s Church site near Great Yarmouth has been part of the community since Medieval times.
And the present day community gathered at an official ceremony to open the ruins and garden to the public on Sunday as a new information board and bench were unveiled.
There was a celebratory feel as those involved were joined by special guests and representatives from funding organisations.
Unveiling the new information board and bench – which features a plaque thanking everyone involved in the project – at the surrounding Millennium Gardens, the Lord Bishop of Norwich, the Rt. Rev Graham James, said: “It is a delight to be here.
In 2008 we did a deal with the parish council, it was a whole £1 to buy this plot – a bargain at the time. “Thanks to Heritage Lottery funding and a lot of local fundraising now we have got something stable and secure. Today is a momentous day – a celebration of the vision and the extraordinary hard work of people in Hopton and everyone else involved in this project.”
With the project led by Great Yarmouth Preservation Trust, Darren Barker, conservation officer from the trust, said: “The project to repair and stabilise the ruin has seen many volunteers giving hundreds of hours, working in all weathers, to save this for future generations. We should all be very proud.”
With the ruin being a focal point for the village, and the peaceful setting of the Millennium Gardens giving people the chance to sit and reflect, chairman of the parish council, Colin Sykes, said: “This is a fantastic achievement – a huge thank you to all involved. It is absolutely the perfect setting for this.”
St Margaret’s Church, in Coast Road, had burned down in 1865 and the ruins were a dangerous structure on the English Heritage buildings at risk register. In 2008 the parish council agreed to buy the ruins for £1 from the Church of England.
The project also involved the Heritage Lottery Fund, English Heritage, the Pilgrim Trust, the parish council, and Great Yarmouth Borough Council.