December 7 2013 Latest news:
By Kathryn Cross
Thursday, October 10, 2013
A plan to install a new lighting system in Dereham church is set to go ahead next week despite the fact that a funding pot for the work is still more than £30,000 short.
The current lighting set-up in St Nicholas Church is more than 30 years old and is gradually plunging its congregation into darkness.
With more than 120 different bulbs in the building, the Parochial Church Council was finding their replacement too costly. Every time a bulb blew, specialists had to be called in as the lights were so difficult to access. With bulbs popping on a regular basis and the system unable to accept the new longer-lasting energy-saving bulbs, there are now more lights off than on.
A schedule of work to replace the lights with a state-of-the-art system was drawn up and will cost £67,000. Despite a huge fund-raising effort, steered by the Friends of St Nicholas, the fund is still £33,000 short of the total.
But, thanks to some generous loans, the PCC has decided to go ahead with the work – which starts Monday – and will look to raise the outstanding sum next year to pay them back.
David Ovenden, chair of the Friends and fabric officer for the church, said it was vital to ensure the church could remain in use over the winter months.
“Over the last five years the lights have really started to get bad and it is quite dismal in winter,” he said. “It is such a beautiful church and not to have good lighting is such a shame when we want to pack it out for services. There must be 120 bulbs in total but about 60 to 70 per cent are not working and the congregation can’t see properly. Many of them are also in the wrong places.
“You can’t buy the type of light bulbs that the system uses any more because they are not energy efficient and they cost so much in electricity anyway.
“The new system will use longer lasting bulbs which cost less to run and won’t need the specialists in so often to replace. It will greatly reduce the church’s carbon footprint as well.”
Along with the bulbs, the work will include new holders and a switching system.
Fund-raising events planned by the Friends include a Hymnathon on November 16 and parishioners will be holding an Autumn Fair on November 30.
The Friends would also like to invite people to become members of the charity for £10 a year or £15 per couple which would boost the pot and also show the committee that the townsfolk want the building to be preserved.
Mr Ovenden added: “The church lends itself for events, it is 12 feet short either side of being a cathedral and everyone who visits it says how wonderful the architecture is.
“With the new lighting we can attract more groups in there using it and that will help pay for it.”
The work is expected to take between six and eight weeks and during that time the church will closed to visitors during the week, but it will be open for services, weddings, funerals and school festivals as usual.
“We hope and pray by Christmas it will all be ready and will really look the business,” he said.
nTo join the Friends contact Mr Ovenden on 01362 691519 or secretary Barbara D’Arts on 01362 694060.