September 21 2014 Latest news:
Picture: RICHARD BATSON
Friday, September 14, 2012
A clergyman and one of his flock have completed a 90-mile walk as their church marches towards the opening of a £500,000 extension.
Building is under way at Holt parish church, where a modern extension should be ready by February just three years after an appeal was launched.
Rector Fr Howard Stoker and Steve Dyer, a churchgoer and server, spent five days stepping out from Knettishall Heath near Thetford to Cromer, where they arrived to a welcoming party on Friday afternoon.
Their route took them along the Peddar’s Way to Holme then along the North Norfolk Coast footpath, with stops at Castle Acre, Old Hunstanton, Wells and Holt with daily stretches ranging between 26 and nine miles.
While Mr Dyer is a keen mountain walker, and did the organising and pace-setting, Fr Stoker said his normal walking was restricted to “a mile or two with the dog.”
The trek went well, and had good weather, though there were “sore feet and shins” as they relaxed at Cromer Pier at journey’s end, said the .
Their effort looks set to raise more than £5,250 thanks to sponsorship from the church congregation, as well as the wider community and Fr Stoker’s former parishes.
The appeal began three years ago, buoyed by an initial £330,000 resulting from a large legacy from a parishioner and the sale of a former curate’s bungalow.
Since April they have raised £85,000 through further donations, fund-raising events and grants and are now on the final push for the remainder.
The new curved-roof extension, next to the 14th century church, will provide a meeting room, office, sacristy - where parish records and church vestments are kept - toilet and baby-changing facilities, including a disabled toilet, a kitchen and a boiler room. The plan is for the meeting room to be used by the choir, children and church groups.
Fr Stoker said it would not only enable the church to expand its work, but offer a facility for the community, including a venue to host events such as concerts for the annual town arts festival.
The next fund-raising event towards the appeal is an all-day book sale at the church hall on Saturday September 29.